Geek Squad Charges $415 Dollars To Replace A Hard Drive; Makes Customer Retrieve Data Files Himself

Reader O.’s laptop stopped working, so he consulted the oft-advertised but rarely recommended Best Buy “Geek Squad” for assistance. They told him the problem was called “Blue Screen of Death,” (yes, really) and quoted O. the following estimate:

Price to diagnose was $69.00, OS Install $129.00, Back up transfer $99.00, NO Guarantee.
Estimated repair time seven to ten days.

Seven days later, they hadn’t even looked at the machine. After 8 days, they’d begun testing the laptop. On the 10th day the exhaustive tests were still being done, but things weren’t looking good for O.’s data files. On the 11th day, O. was given the sad news that his hard drive was fried and would need to be replaced for an extra charge of $118.00. On the 12th day, O. was given his laptop, and his non-working hard drive.

But were the data files really beyond saving? After all, Geek Squad had charged O. $99.00 for the unsuccessful back-up…

From O’s email:

Disappointed that I had lost all of my data files, I started talking to other computer persons about this problem. I took the “un-working” hard drive to a friend at work. We installed the “un-working” hard drive into another working laptop computer. In about 15 minutes, he told me that the OS Windows system was corrupted BUT the hard drive was fine and the data could be recovered.

We used a IDE 2.0 IDE Adaptor, CD/DVD-ROM Combo/External, Plug & Play, High Speed / data transfer, 52x write speed, switching adapter input AC 90V-264V, USB unit. Cost $20.00.
We first hooked it up to a Windows system and the adapter hesitated, but it did run the hard drive.

Next we hooked the “un-working” hard drive to a computer with a LINIX system.
Guess What !!! All the data on our “un-working” hard drive was recovered in about 20 minutes.

Naturally, Best Buy gave a full refund on the failed back-up procedure, right? Nope. O. got 1/2 off.

Sunday 2/25/07 Spoke with Allen, Geek Squad manager. He explained they should of told me about a disk recovery program, but the computer would have to be sent to a outside source for repairs. I received a $49.00 refund off the price of the $99.00 back up charge. I still lost $248.00 plus dollars, because of their repair contract.

What’s the moral of this story? It seems that despite the fact that Geek Squad bills itself as a friendly alternative to scary computer repair places who’ll rip you off, they’re not even as good as your friend at work. Maybe O. would have been better off if he’d just offered his friend $250.00 if he could get the computer to work. Food for thought.—MEGHANN MARCO

O. writes:

Jan 28, 2007 I took my Toshiba Satellite to Best Buy, Geek Squad to be repaired.
We had lost our Windows XP program and I wanted it to be repaired and recover the hard drive data.

They told me we had “The Blue Screen of Death.”

Price to diagnose was $69.00, OS Install $129.00, Back up transfer $99.00, NO Guarantee.
Estimated repair time seven to ten days..

•Sunday 2/05/07 @ 10am, seven days later, I called to see what was wrong. Their answer was: your computer has not been looked at yet.. We’ll call you back around 1pm. I got no return phone call that day.

•On Monday I called again @ 7pm, couldn’t get through to the service department, the operator took down my information and told me to call back later.. At 8 pm I called and was told that they were still running diagnosis test.

•I waited for call on Tuesday, but no one called.

•Wednesday @ 7 or 8 pm, I called again. Answer: We are still running tests, but it looks like the hard drive has failed, so back up recovery was impossible.

•Thursday night I went to the store and agreed to have the hard drive replaced at an additional charge, which came to $118.00. I was told this would take extra time, because of installing Windows updates.

•Friday evening we picked up the computer and the quote “un-working” hard drive.

Disappointed that I had lost all of my data files, I started talking to other computer persons about this problem. I took the “un-working” hard drive to a friend at work. We installed the “un-working” hard drive into another working laptop computer. In about 15 minutes, he told me that the OS Windows system was corrupted BUT the hard drive was fine and the data could be recovered.

We used a IDE 2.0 IDE Adaptor, CD/DVD-ROM Combo/External, Plug & Play, High Speed / data transfer, 52x write speed, switching adapter input AC 90V-264V, USB unit. Cost $20.00.
We first hooked it up to a Windows system and the adapter hesitated, but it did run the hard drive.

Next we hooked the “un-working” hard drive to a computer with a LINIX system.
Guess What !!! All the data on our “un-working” hard drive was recovered in about 20 minutes.

•Sunday 2/25/07 Spoke with Allen, Geek Squad manager. He explained they should of told me about a disk recovery program, but the computer would have to be sent to a outside source for repairs. I received a $49.00 refund off the price of the $99.00 back up charge. I still lost $248.00 plus dollars, because of their repair contract.

I just want your company to know how disappointed I am with the Geek Squad. Your TV commercials don’t live up to what they advertise, also your repair contract doesn’t give the consumer any rights to receive a full refund. I will never take a computer there for repair of any kind, and never recommend the Geek Squad service to anyone.

(Photo: Maulleigh)

Comments

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  1. Starfury says:

    Next time you need PC help try posting (from a working computer) on Craigslist. You’ll most likely find a qualified techie that would charge a fraction of what geek squad (spit) charges. Something like backing up the drive w/ a corrupted OS and reinstalling windows is time consuming but not difficult.

  2. mshafiroff says:

    If you played with a credit card, please chargeback the cost immediately. This “service” was incompetent and did not perform contracted responsibilities.

  3. The Bigger Unit says:

    Two things:

    I had to laugh when I read they charged you $69 to diagnose the “Blue Screen of Death”…that diagnosis would have consisted of turning on the computer with a fried HD.

    Secondly, I had Vista corrupt my external HD…this sucked because it was lots of music, photos, and other stuff that is hard to get back. I used “GetDataBack” successfully to get it all back…nice, simple to use program. Formatted the external drive, and now it’s back to working again. Total cost to me: $0. Much preferred over the “Geek Squad”.

  4. Coder4Life says:

    When I worked there as a Rep for a company, the geek squad services had to be sold or the employee would be fired.

    Also I had a friend work there, and he said that they are required to do such things. Like tell you your hard drive is bad, so they can profit more money. If they don’t do things like that. They are required to lie to you at times so they can hit their #’s.

    He said that many times their #’s would be low, so the manager would tell them to do things such as above.

    Most geek squad agents don’t know much, yet they are not even A+ certified most times. They are college kids that get paid above average to $10 – 11/hour to sit their and lie.

    Dont’ believe me, go in there and try it out for yourself. They will always make you get the databackup and they never back it up because they know its not needed.

    Your 10 minutes, $50 repair will be a 10 days $300.

  5. NTidd says:

    Did anyone try to boot up to the OS disc and run the repair option?

    Anyway pulling a laptop hard drive out and plugging it into a desktop and accessing the drive from a working OS should be one of the first things to try.

  6. mewyn dyner says:

    Computer repair is the new car repair.

    My coworker was telling me about how one Honda dealership was trying to screw him into replacing his timing belt saying that it needed to be replaced at 50k miles, while the manual and another dealer told him that it is at 120k miles. Thing is, you’ll find incompetent and crooked repair shops for anything.

    I’d agree with the getting a knowledgeable friend or coworker to look at it, but there are some caveats. First off, we really don’t like to spend our free time fixing someone else’s computer, we do it all day at work, it gets tiresome. Second, make sure you “tip” appropriately. Nothing is worse than having to blow a whole weekend trying to rid someone else’s computer of spyware and viruses and not get anything in compensation. Third, make sure you get the right person for the right job. I’m a UNIX admin, and while I can fix problems in Windows, I’d rather not, and it’s likely that it will take me much longer to do it than a Windows guy. Oh, and finally, LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY! Nothing will piss off someone who is willing to fix your computer if you bring it back to them with the exact same problem that you fixed last time, especially if it’s user-generated. If I was to rid someone’s computer of spyware and say “don’t go to these sites, don’t activate this or that, and run this program from time to time,” they should do that if they want to keep getting help from me.

  7. Iron_Dragon says:

    This has to be the biggest scam I’ve ever seen. It’s bad enough the customer had to jump through hoops to get the work done but to charge nearly 300$ for what is basically no work…

    “Price to diagnose was $69.00″

    69$ when they reported the problem incorrectly? The hard drive was fine. There was no “blue screen of death problem” but rather a virus or bad sector.

    “OS Install $129.00″

    Let’s ignore the fact that 129$ to let windows auto install is a rip off for a second. If the hard drive was “not working” how did they install the OS? Even her tech friend found out the install was corrupt. So how can they charge for this?

    “Back up transfer $99.00, NO Guarantee.”

    Did they even make an try to backup the files? I mean how much experience does it take to swap the hard drive into another machine to pull out the data.

    This just sickens me. I’ve been holding off posting for a while but this one takes the cake. 300$ for them to look at the computer and tell her there’s a problem. I’d seriously fight this or attempt a charge back if the payment was by credit card. The work hasn’t been done.

    Sigh… I have to get in on this. I’ll install a hard drive and windows for 20$. Beat that Geek Squad. :P

  8. antmuzic says:

    The Geek Squad needs to be run out of business. They have completely screwed up and/or overcharged many friends and neighbors of mine.

    Friends don’t let friends go to the Geek Squad.

  9. matto says:

    What sort of dimwit thinks that a minimum-wage Best Buy employee turns into a computer genius because he has a different color polo shirt?

    Geek Squad fees are a stupid tax, and stupid taxes aren’t refundable.

  10. FunPaul says:

    Please do not waste your money on Geek Squad. Their prices are ridiculous and they do not guarantee their work.
    Please shop around if you do not feel comfortable enough to service your own computer, Best Buy will only rip you off.

  11. Itch says:

    Odd that they say they wouldn’t guarantee it. They claim to on their official site. If he is still inside the time limit of 30 days he can go get his full refund.

    http://www.geeksquad.com/commonquestions/index.php#guarant

    I will say it sounds like they just tried to boot the machine to transfer the files, and when that of course failed said “Goody free money”.

  12. FunPaul says:

    @matto:
    It isn’t the consumer’s fault that they believe the Fortune 500 company when it says they can fix your electronics.
    Most people are intimidated by electronics and computers. They have no idea how complicated or simple fixing them might be. Best Buy is preying on their ignorance/fear. They are a despicable company, their customers are just uninformed.

  13. Cap'n Jack says:

    ALWAYS ask your friends before taking your computer to any repair shop. Most times, your geek buddy knows more than the average Geek Squad troll.

  14. Mr. Gunn says:
  15. Echodork says:

    My wife started up a computer repair company when I was in college, for all the townies and non-techie students who needed quick fixes. At first, she wanted to charge for what things were worth… $5 for virus removal, $5 for spyware, $25 to reinstall Windows, that sort of thing. But I suggested she pick up a Geek Squad flier and just cut all the prices by 25%.

    She felt guilty for charging $60 to install video cards for a while, but people were THRILLED that they could get a discount off the Best Buy Ripoff price.

  16. AcidReign says:

    …..I love my little Maddog USB drive enclosure. It’s great for putting suspect drives in for analysis on a good computer. (Make sure you’ve disabled autoplay, in case that sucker is malware-infested!) A shocking number of computers are now sold with system-restore disks (or restore partitions) that can’t deal with a borked Partition Table/FAT at all.

    …..As to using “system disks” to fix it, be wary. Most of these things now wipe the drive and write an image back on it. You’ll have the computer back to where it was when you first bought it, with your data overwritten. Yeah, I know, data should be stored on a separate drive, or at least a different partition, but if the end-user can accomplish that, they’re unlikely to be taking problems to Geek Squad…

  17. Brian Gee says:

    @Echodork: Brilliant idea!

    I’ve been fixing my family’s and friends’ computers for a long time. I usually do the labor for free, mainly because I don’t know what to charge. To me anything over $0 feels like a ripoff, but the response from my friend is as though I performed a miracle, so there’s obviously some value to it.

    Geek Squad-25% sounds like a great starting point.

  18. Kryndis says:

    As someone who has worked professional level tech support I have personally seen (and had to fix) Geek Squad’s screw-ups. Never use Geek Squad. Find someone local whom you trust.

  19. DutchFlat says:

    If this idiot had bought a Macintosh, it would have been fixed immediately, and at no charge. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so stupid as to buy the cheapest thing they can find, and then spend X times that to get it constantly fixed. Geek Squad? Best Buy?

    Right. You’re better off buying from Rubber Chickens.com

  20. @Jaideepg: You say “not even A+ certified” like that’s a bad thing. All of the people I’ve ever met who were A+ certified didn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. All of the worst techs that I’ve had work for me were all A+ certified and bragging. I no longer have any respect for the A+ certification because of these people.

  21. Twitch says:

    If you really want to get your geek friends to fix your computer, show up with some beer, a few bucks and a good attitude.

    I’ve fixed a couple ‘dead according to geek squad’ systems… in less than 2 hours usually. they’re morons.

  22. NedraH says:

    Gee, this sounds familiar. Just before my truck driving hubby came home my laptop went into an infernal boot loop and in mid-bootup, would turn off, on and restart the boot.

    I took MINE to CompUSA and they backed up my files for $99. In FACT, the tech was really NICE and did one extra DVD to backup something I’d forgotten to ask for the first time.

    Then he showed me an external housing that I coulde put the drive into if I wished to try to retrieve any further files MYSELF. Well, I’ve given up my techie talents by lack of practice since my hubby is SOooo good at the tech end of the computer.

    Just after I got the backup, my husband had to come home to have a major overhaul on his truck engine. The end result was he played with my drive till he found out that the o/s was corrupt for unknown reasons. I’d had hints something was coming that I ignored. He and I BOTH did virus and trojan checks on the drive and it was CLEAN! He found the o/s was corrupt somewhere and for once, the repair CD WORKED RIGHT! So, while Samsung offered to replace this new drive, and CompUSA DID recover my files, I don’t need a new hard drive and I DO have my files that I had NOT backed up as I KNOW I SHOULD HAVE DONE! (slap slap – BAD girl) …
    I have my files ! I got GOOD service from CompUSA and I’m actually quite SHOCKED at the poor service rendered by the Geek Squad. I won’t give THEM any of MY business!!!!!

  23. mattgolsen says:

    While I agree that businesses in general should be brought to task for unfair, or unethical business practices, I take issue with the current attitude of the online community mob tactics to get what you want, even if you are in the wrong (not saying this is the case here, but it’s a growing trend I see).

    An unbelievable effect of living in a free market is the ability to choose where you take your business. Not doing research on business practices of companies is just irresponsible if you plan on entrusting something as important as your laptop, or personal data to them.

    That being said I’d like to clarify a few things people may not be aware of. The $69 dollar diagnostic fee is not just to turn on a laptop and say “Gee, that’s a BSOD”, it applies to any issues with the laptop that may be uncovered, related to the hard drive or not. While the issue was not diagnosed properly (nor handled by their management fairly), the fee seems reasonable to me. Also take into account that they do not charge hourly, it’s a flat fee to find any issues, no matter how long it takes.

    Secondly, the next time I blow a tire, or throw a rod in my car, I’ll remember to tell the mechanic, “$1200! Why my uncle Jimmy can do that for half the price!”. To which the most likely answer would be “Well if you don’t like the price, I suggest you have your uncle do it.” Again going back to the freedom of choice thing I mentioned earlier. The fact of the matter is Geek Squad exists for the same reason car mechanics, contractors, or any other service type industry does… Because you, as a consumer do not want to do the work yourself, or you do not have the technical experience. Not only that, you have an entire company to take to task if they don’t do something to your satisfaction. As it is in this case.

    As far as the data recovery. Well, it’s a best effort service. Just like your DSL or cable. There is no guarantee that your data is intact. That’s just a fact. There is nothing Geek Squad can do to ensure that your data is recoverable. It is in my opinion however that he should at the very least receive compensation in some form, from the misdiagnoses of his laptop.

    I guess what I’m really trying to say in all this is yes they screwed up. Yes the customer was not informed as he should have been. Are these stories we all see on Digg indicative of the total level of service that the Geek Squad provides? Not in my opinion. How many happy customers do you think they have on a daily basis?

    Best Buy, Geek Squad.. any businesses ultimate goal is to make money. Plain and simple. How much money do you think they’ll make with unhappy customers? Isn’t it in their best interest to provide exactly what the customer wants?

  24. adamondi says:

    Always seek out the “friend at work” before going to Rip-off Squad. A lot of IT guys will be happy to do a little freelance repair work for you on the side. Just don’t expect them to repair your stuff for free, and don’t expect them to repair your personal equipment on company time. You will almost always come out better this way, and won’t be stuck without your laptop for two weeks.

  25. worth says:

    well for one thing, he was ripped off.. i used to work for the GS. the 129 for the OS install has the Diagnostic fee included.. its policy that theu do a diag on every computer that is checked in. when i worked there, if we couldnt do the service then we would refund the customer the money they paid. though if we did anything to the machine we wouldnt refund the diag fee of 69. i was working in one of the rare GS locations that everyone was very knowledgeable about anything computers. we could fix almost anything. the problem was that we couldnt use our own tools, we had to use only Geeksquad approved tools.

  26. marjb03 says:

    I, Being a Geek Squad Agent, am shocked. Mostly because of the idiotic people replying to this post. First off, “The Nature Boy” stating “”Blue Screen of Death”…that diagnosis would have consisted of turning on the computer with a fried HD.” All technicians know that a Blue Screen of Death is not always a hard drive problem. Secondly, The customer signs a “terms and conditions” paper stating that we are never responsible for data loss nor is there a guarantee that our attempts at Data Backups are going to work. Also, that particular Geek Squad may not be aware that a corrupted hard drive is still capable of retrieving information from it. And also to “Echodork”, your wife should feel bad for charging $60 to install a video card, we charge $39 for all hardware installs. And lastly to “Jaideepg”, I am completely convinced you are a liar. I have NEVER heard of this and I know for SURE my store would NEVER lie to a customer about their computer repairs. We do not get penalized for not meeting our “numbers” we just get fussed at, which usually isn’t too bad. I can’t speak for every Best Buy store, but that just sounds completely absurd. hah, thanks for the laugh, idiots :)

  27. swalve says:

    I do this sort of thing for a living, professionally.

    1) A+ is a certification that says someone has about 6 months of experience in the computer hardware repair biz. Nothing great. BUT there aren’t any greater standards or certifications for being able to “fix Windows” or anything like that. If someone is good, the move up the food chain to some other role in IT.

    2) I’m not sure I blame the Geek Squad completely this time. This user seems to know nothing about what a computer is, how it works or anything. My guess is that they just left it with the tech and said “fix it”. The ability of clueless users to completely destroy an OS is legendary. I wouldn’t be surprised if it in fact was better to reinstall the OS.

    3) That said, the tech sounds like a moron. Who would ever think that a business called the Geek Squad would be reliable? And who thinks that someone willing to be called a geek for $10 an hour is going to good at anything?

    4) re the Apple fanboy: Are you kidding? Didn’t this site just run a story on how to get through Apple’s terrible service labyrinth? I’m pretty sure the “Geniuses” are just as unqualified as the Geeks.

    5) She brought the computer in, they told her the charge, they told her there was no guarantee. I would have left. But she said “ok go ahead with the work”. What’s her beef?

    I agree- tax on the stupid.

  28. Maulleigh says:

    I got the blue screen of death this past weekend. I looked at geek squad but it seemed a little pricey. I went on craigslist and found a poor computer science major who came by, picked up my laptop and took it home with him, reinstalled all my software and then returned it to me when he was done. $120.

  29. democritus says:

    It’s the same everywhere. Before I got hired at Microsoft I worked on a website for a Plumber, and at Blockbuster. In every case, where there was an opportunity to drive up the price – it was done. Blockbuster tries to sell you stuff that you can get for free elsewhere, and harrasses customers to buy more. Employees are fired if they don’t sell 20% non-video merchandise, meet target rentals, and sell X number of subscriptions per week. This is just like a boilerroom sales job. The plumber? Much much worse. Even if nothing is wrong, they’ll sell you a water heater, or as much as they think you’ll pay for.

    Consumer Beware. Corporations are not your friend. They are not punished for lying to you. You are only as desirable as the amount of money you’ll spend on their services.

  30. daamoth says:

    I worked at CompUSA for about six months and, sadly, this is (pretty much) protocol. It takes time and expertise to fix something like this, so it’s much easier to tell a customer that their hard drive has crashed and then reinstall everything on a new drive. It’s right up there with being a crooked auto mechanic — maybe worse.

  31. Charles Duffy says:

    @swalve: The tech absolutely gets blamed for trying to sell a new hard drive to a user who needed at most a clean OS reinstall — not to mention charging for running a backup and not actually being able to restore any data.

    Claiming that a new hard drive was needed when it clearly was not is more than a warranty disclaimer can bear. If they don’t make it right, I’d go to small claims.

  32. aparsons says:

    I wonder what would happen if I hosed a *NIX box and took it into geek squad? That would be hilarious!

  33. Chairman-Meow says:

    I really wish some TV investigative crew would do a “Jiffy Lube” on Best Buy and their Geek Squad.

    Bastards!

  34. kenposan says:

    Yea, a Geek Squad thread! LOL

    My story:
    Did a windows update.
    system crashed. (I am not techy enough to fix it)
    Take to GS. Told them this. Also told them that a quick web search showed this was not uncommon.
    GS told me the motherboard is bad and cheaper to get new computer.
    Trusting them, I bought a new laptop.
    I ran the repair/reinstall discs for kicks.
    The old computer is running fine now.

    Fool me once, shame on me.
    Fool me once, I tell everyone I know :)

  35. theothercarl says:

    Having quit about a year ago….

    1. Most of Geeksquad’s customers are at the lowest common denominator when it comes to any tech knowledge (IE. customer returns brand new desktop 4 times all because he was destroying his registry trying to install an elmo game meant for Windows 95, while denying he was trying to install anything, until we booted it up and the disk popped out “Well, that’s just a game for my daughter….”)

    2. A+ (or the lack there of) means nothing — working with a paper MCSE will make you want to shoot yourself — ditto x8 for A+.

    3. The location I worked at had mostly amazing guys (tech wise) while I worked there, mostly over qualified and underpaid (most no longer work there, and have moved on to real jobs).

    4. Just because a tech gives you a blank look doesn’t mean he is an idiot. Even the smartest tech can fumble around when you ask them if we can install a “holder thing” and mean a hardrive, or ask them to install a new harddrive so you can have better graphics.

    5. When I worked there, we were constantly being gotten onto for helping people “too much” during the free 5 min diag. From what I understand, there is a new policy that forces all customers to pay for a full diag if a computer needs to be brought in for anything other than a software install. (Customer used to DEMAND that we just “REINSTALL windows OK!” but then if harddrive was bad, then they would demand a refund even though we 5 min diag’ed it and told them something deeper was wrong, so all in all its a fair rule)

    6. 8 Ipod’s a day, at least. Over half (after 4th gen) had no problem. Talk about a man hour drain. Same thing that killed the genius bar.

    7. We always ran the $69 diag first, this included checking to see if we could pull data off a hard drive, if everything was toast we would refund anything else that was billed and they would only owe $69. Very fair.

    8. With a few notable exceptions every Geeksquad guy I worked with just wanted to help the customer, during my time there we all knew quite a few customers by name. We had a lot of repeat business from the elderly because we would take the time to listen and actually help them (“selling” to an octogenarian on a fixed income is just stupid). Being a tech friend was what Geeksquad was originally all about.

    9. The quality of every BBY depends on the whim of the stores General Manager. As a result, some stores are excellent, and some cause all involved to slowly lose the will to live.

    9. Best Buy is notorious for screwing everyone to get to the bottom line. No matter what they say, Geeksquad IS NOT a separate company and by and large it has taken on the value system of BBY. This is primarily because in-store GS people are usually hired by BBY managers that no nothing about computers, and work under / report to BBY managers. If the management hierarchy had a greater degree of separation between Geeksquad and BBY then many of these problems would be solved.

    10. Bestbuy has so many loss leaders that they squeeze profit out of any segment that turns a profit(appliances, home theatre, GS). GS is 80% profit, the only other segment that beats it is accessories/cables.

    11. Bestbuy has policies in place that attract the meanest/worst possible shoppers and reward them for bad behavior, part of their high employee dissatisfaction and poor overall service.

    12. To sum up: Some GS locations are awesome, but most now hire 12yr olds that can’t tell SATA from IDE. If you bring a computer in, have them do a $69 dollar diagnostic. Then if they are incompetent and bungle things you can say “You lied about the diagnostic results and solicited more work under false pretense, screw you.”

  36. spanky says:

    Why are some people so toward those who don’t know how to maintain their computers? I don’t see nearly this level of vitriol toward people who get ripped off by shady mechanics, doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

    Do they deserve it, too?

    Oh, and swalve? 1) The lady in the article is a DUDE, and 2) you do “this sort of thing” for a living, and you think your customers deserve to pay a ‘stupid tax’ for relying on you? Nice.

  37. Kat says:

    Swalve… $10 an hour? Try $7.

    Ex-Best Buy tech, pre-Geek-Squad takeover. They take forever with the systems and they will screw you over every way they can. They wanted me to charge a customer $20 per program to reinstall all his stuff after we wiped his hard drive.

  38. frexayork says:

    Geek squad is a joke, at least in my experience. Your better off searching on forums on the internet.

  39. KernelPanic says:

    First, I am not defending Best Buy or the Geek Squad and while they probably did diagnose the problem poorly and charged them for some fees they shouldn’t have. The overall amount is right about dead on where it should be.

    There is nothing worse than spending 3 to 6 hours reinstalling an OS, downloading drivers, running updates, loading an end users software, restoring settings, restoring emails and getting all of their setting just right, for the third time and then not getting compensated properly for your effort.

    Hey, owning a computer is a responsibility like owning a car. You need drive your car responsibly, have insurance and when you break the car you have to pay to fix it, so why are computers any different.

    You should practice safe computing by not going to shady websites and loading every cool new widget that catches your eye and why wouldn’t you have a backup in the first place and not expect to pay to have your computer fixed when it broken.

    The internet is not always a friendly, safe or forgiving place -so act accordingly.

    KP

  40. Ghosx says:

    I work at Geek Squad.

    An in store data backup is for healthy drives only. Backups for unhealthy drives are to be sent to an ontrack specialist or “Geek Squad City” which admittedly is costly, but has a higher chance of success. The agent this guy dealt with did a disservice to this customer by offering an in store backup on a drive he knew was defective. Not only did he waste this customer’s time, but also risked damaging his data.

    The customer took a risk in using his own methods to get the data off his machine, and it’s fortunate that he was successful. Sometimes it’s that easy, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s as easy as simply running the manufacturer’s own utilities, but that’s not something we’re willing to risk at the store level.

    To sum it up:

    1) Plug drive into external hard drive casing.
    2) Plug casing into store computer.
    3) If drive is not recognized by machine, try a second external case, or plug directly into unit.
    4a) If drive still isn’t recognized, give up. Customer requires higher level data recovery through ontrack certified recovery center or “Geek Squad City”.
    4b) If drive is recognized and files can be seen, but drive is acting up in any way at all, give up, recommend ontrack or GSC.
    4c) If drive can be recognized and gives no hint of a problem, obtain data.
    5) If data exceeds 9gb, check to see which level of data backup the customer paid for. The $99 backup recovery has a 9gb limit. Data backups in excess of 9gb is $159.
    6) Burn data to CD or DVD.

  41. ZeeUberGeek says:

    I have been employed by Geek Squad for the past eight months. I can say that your case does have its issues, but it is not of the norm. Here’s the rundown, as far as I can see it (granted, I can only see one side of the story).

    1. $69 Diagnostic is the standard fee. No if’s and’s or but’s, a diagnostic is $69. If we found out that you needed to restore the machine, $69. If we found out that you needed to un-select ‘mute’, $69. Just the same as going to the car dealership. If they find out that you failed to twist your gas cap tight enough, they aren’t going to waive the fee. As far as what the diagnostic entails, we use 3 primary hardware tests: Memtest86, Hitachi DFT (or the MFG-supplied hard drive testing suite), and Eurosoft PC-Check.

    2. If your hard drive so much as had a bad sector, it MUST be deemed a bad hard drive. Either the MFG-supplied HD test program, or PC-Check flagged your drive as failing SMART, read/read verify, write/write verify, mechanics stress, etc. This is a policy issue.

    3. If your hard drive fails a test, we can still attempt a data backup. As long as it isn’t mechanically shot, the file/partition table is mostly intact, we can get as many files as possible. Let’s assume that you want 10 arbitrary files, totalling 7GB. $99 for all backups under 9.4GB (2 DVD’s). Now let’s assume that due to the hard drive failure we can only get 9 of the 10 files you want. We have advanced data recovery services through OnTrack Data Recovery that are available (per what O. said, he was offered). We can either send your drive to OnTrack for recovery, give you what files we WERE able to get (for the full fee), or refund your money and give you NO data. Assuming we could only get 1 of the 10 files, and you wanted that one, we would STILL have to charge you the full amount.

    4. In regards to being able to load the filesystem under Linux, that does not imply that there are no defects to the drive itself. The defects may have been in free, un-used space (though it’s more likely that it was the space the registry hive occupied). I am very glad to hear that you were able to use Linux to back up your data, and it is a HUGE request from the Agents that we would be allowed to do that. However, we have a VERY strict approved-tools listing (per the Wintools [or whatever] fiasco), and Linux is not at our disposal. Once again, a policy issue.

    5. There are some (although not very good) explanations for the poor turn-around time that you experienced. The most likely are that the Precinct is simply busy, or does not have a large enough labor budget. At our current precincy, the past few weeks have shown the trend that for every six machines we complete, seven are checked in. As you should be able to infer, this could lead to some pretty big wait times. Our Awaiting Work queue is currently at about 35 computers. That means that there are 35 computers which must be completed before a new checkin will ever hit the bench (give or take, because our bench can hold ten machines). Currently, we have a 4-6 day wait before we will ever even have the CHANCE to touch your machine. The number of machines in front of yours may even GROW as machines that are awaiting work authorization or customer information are inserted back into the queue (machines are worked on in order of first checked-in to last. If someone brought their machine in four weeks ago, and neglected to bring in their recovery discs until today, that means that they get bumped ahead of a new checkin, because it’s been there longer). I wouldn’t blame the Geek Squad precinct for this so much as the Best Buy store in which they reside.

  42. Zinger says:

    First of all all of you people have no clue what its like to be in the Geek Squad. You think you know what your talking about. Geek Squad Standards are to offer the customer what will make their life easier. I understand that you think they might have over charged you but they didnt. You think that a diagnostic only covers booting the computer. But its many tests on RAM, HDD, Spyware & Viruses (if the computer was in working condition), Mobo, Slots in the computer, Optical drives, etc. With a big corporation there are many things to consider even though you say you can get your data back with Linux or Getdataback? I am sure you can, who the hell can’t run a piece of software? But Legal actions on using this type of software for business use takes time and money. When you have barely enough people working the counters with stupid people asking questions like whats wrong with my computer, and calling the store and asking how can I delete these viruses? Its tough to get to the many computers in line. Trust me your not the only one who has to wait. A backup is like you said not gaurenteed you signed the paper work as it was stated. In my opinion you should not have received any refund. You were quoted a price you said ok. As for college kids making minimum wage and people with A+ Certs, Yeah anyone can read a book and pass a test no doubt in my mind, but the experience comes in working in the field. Its not tough to learn or fix a computer anyone can use google. But I don’t believe you should be judging everyone that has an A+ cert dumb or incompitent. In fact $415 was actually priced out wrong anyways, depending on the drive that was purchased they should have charged a hardware installation. People come to the Geek Squad because they do not know where to go for help. The Geek Squad is there to help as best as they can. You want premium service go to Geek Squad, you want Joe Blow using Illegal Software and adding shit like Spybots on your comptuer and telling you Limewire is the best software out there then look them up in a paper. if you don’t like the price find a friend to fix your computer, and once they are don’t messing it up, bring it by the Geek Squad to have them do it right.

  43. Firstborn Dragon says:

    Having people on both sides of the line living in my place; Father and brother build all our machines from sratch, I can do most of the things minuse builds on my own, (I aim to learn to build my own so I’m self sufficent, but learning is the pain.) and a sister who’s so so, and my Mother who’s totally out of her leage doing anything beyond playing games.

    I’ve seen the Geek Squad, and yeah, it’s pathetic there. I looked at the prices around here, they want over 100$ to install an OS. AND they pre-install junk, like a demo of Norton’s (Heard too many horror stories and WILL not use it) means you need to go though and unistall junk that you were just charged to have installed.

    Never had to go there for anything myself, but just what you see when you’re around their, as well as their pricing would be enough to scare anyone off who knows anything.

  44. Zinger says:

    It seems that some people have a problem with Geek Squad and some have a problem with the people. Its not like its the people who take your computer ins fault for charging 129 for an OS install. Its the corporation. The people working there cannot help the prices that they have to charge people.
    The reason a diagnostic was charged was because the customer did not know if the hard drive was bad. In fact if they wanted they could have just gone to the Geek Squad and said all I want is a HDD installed and the OS installed. Geek Squad would have bypassed the Diagnostic and did what the customer asked. But what if the HDD was not the problem? What if it was the mobo or the ram then they had charged the customer money for somthing they did not need. Its a risk everyone takes.
    Also it is not legal to fire somone who is not hitting numbers. Their job is to fix computers and make money for the company no doubt, but to fire somone because they lie to customers just to hit numbers is illegal and Geek Squad does not tolerate such acts from managers.
    I however love my job, I make the customers I deal with happy. I make them feel that every service they purchase from me was worth the money. So if your gonna be pissed off don’t be pissed off at the people working at the Geek Squad, its not their fault they are just doing what they have to in life. They do not make extra money charging you an arm and a leg for somthing not needed.

  45. Do2 says:

    I thought it was only me.

    I had a hard drive failure and took it to Geek Squad in Danbury CT. They charged me the diagnose charge but were unable to tell me what was wrong. I explained that the reason I brought it in and paid for the diagnose charge was to… imagine this… get a diagnosis. They claimed they scanned the disk etc. (nonsense, all of it) and now had to send it out for further testing. That price could be anywhere from 300-3000. I tried to reason with him that GS didn’t actually do what I paid for them to do. He then started the fumbling, stumbling nonsense. Finally he gives up when he realizes he is just toeing the company spiel

    The poor counter guy gets his manager, but before he can come over, I explain to him even if he has just basic computer skills he doesn’t have to work in a place that makes him be unethical and embarass himself this way. Somehow this has to change. The business I work at would kill for some people with marginal computer skills and half a brain like this kid had. We has a society have to rescue these kids before they think this is the way the world has to work.

    The idiot manager came over and spewed more of the spiel. Last time I step foot in Best Buy or Geek Squad again.

    PS> The credit card company refused to fight the charge for me as I had signed the form that said I wanted the problem diagnosed. Switched that card too.

  46. vermonttheatre says:

    Let me give you some information about Geek Squad policies and practices.

    First of all, Not! everyone should have a computer. 85% of the time that we see a BSOD come into the store the problems are not being caused by a dead HDD. Most of the time it is a bad driver most likely caused by a Windows update, or some Malware that the computer received because their owners don’t want to believe that Gateway, HP and Dell do not put on protection unless you pay extra for it.

    Geek Squad in store tech work on a first come first serve basis. If a computer that is before yours in line is giving them difficulties then your computer will take longer. This is the only fair way to help all customers. Geek Squad has to charge a diagnostics for every computer that comes in for repair. If you purchased the Service plan this diagnostics charge is covered under the plan. This diagnostics takes geek squad between 2 to 5 hours to complete. We check the HDD, RAM, Motherboard, Network interface card. USB ports and a list of lost of other checks such as dust and fan functionality. They also check for distended capacitors. If best buy did not charge this charge and make sure there were no other problems we would have customers coming in all the time with complaints that we did not fix their problems. At my store, we had a customer that came in who sounded like he knew a little bit about computers. He informed us that his HDD was dead and he wanted a new one installed. Because this guy sounded like he knew what he was talking about we installed a new HDD and sent him off to re install his OS. This customer came back in the next day to return the HDD install because he said the computer was still not working. We had to return the labor and HDD for the customer. It turned out his problem was a dead stick of memory. If we had kept the computer in for a diagnostics we would have found this out and let the customer know his true problem. Most of the time the customers are so stupid when it comes to computers that no matter what you say they will never be happy. We are here to provide a full service work, not do half-assed work.
    We try to have a computer tun-a-round time of one to two days, but when we get 25 computers in an afternoon this time frame becomes impossible. If you don’t like to have to wait a week then call 1-800-GeekSquad and schedule an in-home agent who will do all of this work in front of you. It will cost a little more to have someone come out, but we would be providing a premium service. Even doctors do not make house calls any more.

    According to recent polls people’s greatest fears with computers if loosing data. That is why we offer this backup service every time. Sometimes we can get the Data off and sometimes we cannot. According the Best Buy SOP if NO data can be backed-up you WILL get a FULL refund. I have do this all the time. If we are able to get some data, but not all of it this charge will remain. It is on the contract you signed before we charged you for this backup. Go ahead read it, we mostly only have problems with the people who do not read before they sign. As for the Linux argument, Best Buy does not currently have corporate approval to use this tool. Suse and Knoppix, or what ever flavor you like, is free to consumers it is not for commercial use. According to the GPL, if you read that, the software not approved for commercial use with out prior permission. Secondly, The cost of BBY’s backup if extremely affordable. Comparatively, any other data recovery center you would take it too would cost much more. They range any ware from 200 to upwards of 3000 dollars to recover your data.

    On to the complaint about GS agents not being certified. This is not true, we have over 60,000 Vista Certified Agents. Every store’s Geek Squad Supervisor HAS to be A+ Certified. If you ask anyone who is actually knows about these tests will tell you they don’t mean anything. I have known so many people who hold these certifications and I would not trust them with my calculator. This certification only tells us that this person took a book and practiced for a 200 test that provides you with a piece of paper that makes your bullshit smell a little better. You talk to anyone why actually knows computers and they will tell you that experience in the field is much more valuable than any number of certifications. I know there are a lot of people who hate us. We do not get it right all the time, but when you are the Biggest computer repair team in the world there are bound to be people who hate you and want to bring you down. I apologized to you if you feel that BBY wronged you in some way, but get over it. When you are on the TOP people only want to bring you down.

  47. bingonyc says:

    I had a similar story with Geek Squad. Paid for the phone service to check out the HD. After an hour, the computer was far worse off. I lost all files. Then I had to go get it fixed somewhere else.

  48. AimeeGee says:

    Now, I know a fair amount about computers. I can take ‘em apart and put ‘em back together and put in new components and can do my own ghetto diagnostic check which usually narrows down where the problem is. I’m no pro at it, by far, but when a friend has a problem, I play the “let me have a look at it” game and can usually fix the problem.

    Last year, a friend’s boss “fried” her laptop. Now, it was probably due to the fact that she left the laptop running for weeks at a time and she installed those annoying widgets and gadgets and hoobalies that middle-aged people seem to think are so clever. Long story short, she took it in to the Geek Squad and they told her that she had a number of problems, including a corrupted hard drive, tons of malware, a bad battery, and a possible “fried” motherboard. They basically told her to get a new computer. So she did. And she gave the laptop to my friend saying, “If you can fix it, it’s yours.”

    So I left it alone for awhile. Didn’t really think of it. And then I got curious. It WAS a really nice laptop, after all, and I hadn’t even turned it on yet.

    Well, the long and the short of it is, I reformatted the hard drive, re-installed the drivers, yadda yadda yadda… it was fine. Battery? Fine. Motherboard? Not fried. It was essentially just a computer botched up by on overzealous woman who knew nothing about computers. So the question is, why did this “Illustrious” Geek Squad (who are apparently bombarding the boards with their pro-Geek Squad propaganda) tell her that it would be better to get a new computer? I think these are shady business practices, because they convinced a woman who would have gladly paid $500+ for a repair to buy a nicer, better laptop, knowing that she would most likely fuck that one up, too, and the cycle of consumption would never end.

    I worked for the Geek Squad when they were just a small mobile computer repair company in Minneapolis. This is not the Geek Squad it used to be.

  49. Musician78 says:

    Did someone who works at a Geek Squad accidently stumble upon this and tell his/her working buddies? All of the sudden there are 3 or 4 people who work there defending their business. I am sure that their comments have changed our respective opinions about them.

    I have never been to one, but I have yet to hear ANYTHING positive about them aside tfrom their rebutting statements above.

  50. SecureLocation says:

    I bought a new desktop at BB last week and got a better video card to go with it. i asked the nice sales dude to show me which slot it goes in. he did it but told me “I can get in trouble for this.” Apparently salespeople are no longer supposed to give you any advice on the assumption that it’s costing the Geeks business.

  51. tantoedge says:

    “First of all, Not! everyone should have a computer.”
    This is a twisted and jaded individual who does not see the harm in their own words.

    Any Technician who is worth their weight in microchips can tell you, repairs can’t be charted.

    Best Buy LLC charges an exorbitant amount of money for their services, whichever way you slice it.
    No commission for the sales staff, eh?

    Due to advertising, more people bring their hardware to BB and GS. They/you have a responsibility therein. You have taken ownership of that computer.
    For all intents and purposes, that computer should be fixed when that customer pays you.
    They’re paying you not to be a jaded, cynical child, smirking behind their backs at their lack of knowledge.

    I do repair computers for people, and I charge too! Fifty bucks an issue.
    Virii? Fifty bucks. Spyware? Beer. Diagnostics? Beer. Reload Windows? Fifty bucks.

    I don’t charge my friends either, why? Because I’m secure enough in my profession that I don’t need to run around throwing what little knowledge I may have at my friends, scaring them into worshiping my technical prowess. Besides, my friends buy me beer for my technical services.

    I’ve reloaded a machine at my work inside of forty minutes, no data loss, was on the network when Windows concluded.
    That was while I was working! No charge. Computers aren’t cars. They’re easier to work on, easier to fix. Minimal bolts.

  52. dafonda says:

    GS is a total rip off. For what they tend to charge, you can replace most midlevel machines in these days of rapidly obsolescent commodity hardware.

    I’m a computer consultant in West LA. I’ve seen people suffer at their hands time and again, sometimes after being warned. Usually, they’re trying to get things fixed they could have done themselves, with a little research and patience. Or things that they might have been better off having someone like me, or someone at an independant shop, fix.

    Their nickel-and-dime approach is daylight robbery. Why does it cost $20 to run an installation wizard? Installing programs should be FREE with whatever is charged for an OS install/repair. Otherwise, it should be covered under an hourly misc. rate.

    Why does installing windows cost almost as much as licensing windows? Installing Windows is about as hard as making toast. You put the disc in, press the button, and wander off. Then you come back every so often to check its progress, and press the button again if neccessary.

    Hmm. Maybe I should call GS for an OS install, present the tech with a barebones box and a Gentoo net install CD, and then roll tape on his efforts. That might actually approach being worth the money in terms of the skills required.

    GS malware removal is a joke, and the justification supplied above ridiculous. To the angry “DCI” (and how can you proclaim such a jokey title so proudly? They mock their own employees for their customer’s amusement. It’s like having to be both a computer tech and a Disney cast member)– why are you spending days trying to clean a drive on a wheezing, old system? REMOVE THE INFECTED HARD DRIVE AND CLEAN IT USING A NEWER GS-owned MACHINE. This should be obvious to you since you can (and should) be cleaning from a boot disc when another machine is not available. This may be a resource issue–I could see GS skimping here on spare machines for these purposes–which is essential to providing good repair service, IMHO.

    I’ve only skimmed the rep’s response above, but the refusal to use Linux based tools is indicative of GS techs’ average skill level and the faith corporate puts in capabilities of the people in the actual stores and cars.

    Another common occurance: GS trashes a customers partition table and/or MBR trying to perform “data recovery.” (NOTE TO READERS: By now, you should have figured out that GS is not really in the data recovery business.) Now, you’re going to be charged not only for the failed recovery, but a new drive, OS reinstall, blah blah blah….and in fact, this is actually less dishonest than it seems. GS techs are honestly not expert enough to tell the difference between a crashed drive and a corrupted partition table/MBR unless their utilities catch it for them. Certainly, they cannot repair problems like that, and so will have to return the sytem unrepaired or tell you that the drive has failed.

    In short: GS is famously scary-bad. Stay far away, and learn to appreciate your local independant computer shop and/or geekazoid consultant. Their hourly rates may sound a little high–but trust me, if you find a good one, you get a whole lot more for your dollar.

  53. dafonda says:

    Here comes the TLDR reply thread. Buckle up, it’s going to be bumpy.

    Having quit about a year ago….
    >1. Most of Geeksquad’s customers are at the lowest common denominator when it
    >comes to any tech knowledge

    That’s not a very professional way to describe your customers
    in a purported posted as a representative of GS’ apologia to a site like this.

    > (IE. customer returns brand new desktop 4 times all
    >because he was destroying his registry trying to install an
    >elmo game meant for Windows 95, while denying he was
    >trying to install anything, until we booted it up and
    >the disk popped out “Well, that’s just a game for my daughter….”)

    You can isntall a Win95 program under XP.
    In fact, if you check the advanced properties for an executable in XP,
    you’ll find that XP offers a Win95 compatibility mode.
    So that might have sounded good when you made it up,
    but you’ll need to spin again.

    Moving on….

    >2. A+ (or the lack there of) means nothing —
    >working with a paper MCSE will make
    >you want to shoot yourself — ditto x8 for A+.
    This is true enough, but a paper A+ is better than a completely clueless dolt.

    >3. The location I worked at had mostly
    >amazing guys (tech wise) while I worked there,
    >mostly over qualified and underpaid (most no longer work there,)
    > and have moved on to real jobs).

    And the reported changes in the experience of GS customers
    over the couple years makes clear the consequences of that pattern’s continuation.

    >4. Just because a tech gives you a blank
    >look doesn’t mean he is an idiot. Even the
    >smartest tech can fumble around when you
    >ask them if we can install a “holder thing”
    >and mean a hardrive, or ask them to install a
    > new harddrive so you can have better
    >graphics.

    This is true, but a good tech will ask gentle questions rather than doing
    something to make the customer feel stupid or foolish.

    >5. When I worked there, we were constantly being gotten onto
    >for helping people “too much” during the free 5 min diag.

    Have some balls and tell your manager that you believe in customer service,
    and feel that customer satisfaction will lead to repeat business.

    >From what I understand, there is a new policy that
    >forces all customers to pay for a full diag if a
    >computer needs to be brought in for
    >anything other than a software install.

    >(Customer used to DEMAND that we just
    >”REINSTALL windows OK!” but then if
    >harddrive was bad, then they would demand a refund even
    >though we 5 min diag’ed it
    >and told them something deeper was wrong, so
    >all in all its a fair rule)

    >6. 8 Ipod’s a day, at least. Over half (after 4th gen) had no problem.
    >Talk about a man hour drain. Same thing that killed the genius bar.

    Then don’t accept them for service, if its not profitable
    or if its polluting your core business.

    >7. We always ran the $69 diag first, this included checking to see
    >if we could pull data off a hard drive, if everything was toast we would
    >refund anything else that was billed and they would only owe $69. Very fair.

    There are at least two major problems here.
    1)You’re charging $69 to run a utility and record the results it displays.
    2)You’re blindly accepting those results and
    telling people they have dead drives on the strength of that result
    –and then selling them expensive offsite services or new hardware when
    their drive might in fact be recoverable (even if the data is not.)

    >8. With a few notable exceptions every Geeksquad guy I worked with just wanted
    >to help the customer,
    >during my time there we all knew quite a few customers by name.

    It would be nice if this were true. Maybe it is.
    However, the way your services
    are structured is EVIL.

    >We had a lot of repeat business from the elderly because we would take the time
    > to listen and actually help them

    It’s widely understood that the elderly
    are vulnerable to predatory sales
    tacticsin many diferent markets as well
    as other cons for precisely this reason.

    >(“selling” to an octogenarian on a fixed income is just stupid).
    >Being a tech friend was what Geeksquad was originally all about.

    Selling to an octogenarian is exactly what you’re
    doing using the decision tree and rates you yourself reported.
    Not only is not what a “friend” would do, it’s beyond stupid
    –the word is “reprehensible.”

    >9. The quality of every BBY depends on the whim of the stores General Manager.

    Does the CEO know that?
    Upper management might want to do something about that.
    They’ve already regimented it everything, or so you claim.
    What does the GM control?

    >As a result, some stores are excellent,
    >and some cause all involved to slowly lose the will to live.

    Beyond variation seen in any chain, I don’t think this is a factor in
    GS customers mass dissatisfaction.

    >9. Best Buy is notorious for screwing everyone to get to the bottom line.
    >No matter what they say, Geeksquad IS NOT a separate company and by and large
    >it has taken on the value system of BBY.
    >This is primarily because in-store GS people are usually hired by BBY managers
    >that no nothing about computers, and work under / report to BBY managers.
    >If the management hierarchy had a greater degree of separation between
    >Geeksquad and BBY then many of these problems would be solved.

    Cognitive dissonance alert!!! This is contradicted by your claims above!!!

    Standby, your head will explode in ten….nine….eight….

    >10. Bestbuy has so many loss leaders that they squeeze profit
    >out of any segment that turns a profit(appliances, home theatre, GS).
    >GS is 80% profit, the only other segment that beats it is accessories/cables.

    You don’t see a problem here?
    There shouldn’t be an 80% profit on computer repair labor.
    You need to make more, and they need to charge less.

    >11. Bestbuy has policies in place that attract the meanest/worst
    > possible shoppers and reward them for bad behavior,
    >part of their high employee dissatisfaction and poor overall service.

    GS’s clientele is not composed exclusively of BBY spillover.

    >12. To sum up: Some GS locations are awesome,
    >but most now hire 12yr olds that can’t tell SATA from IDE.
    >If you bring a computer in, have them do a $69 dollar diagnostic.
    >Then if they are incompetent and bungle things you can say
    >”You lied about the diagnostic results and
    >solicited more work under false pretense, screw you.”

    Or just take it to somewhere that isn’t both a rip-off,
    and a gamble at the price.

    KernelPanic says:
    >First, I am not defending Best Buy or the Geek Squad and while they probably
    >did diagnose the problem poorly and charged them for some fees
    >they shouldn’t have. The overall amount is right about
    >dead on where it should be. There is nothing worse than spending
    >3 to 6 hours reinstalling an OS, downloading drivers, running updates,
    >loading an end users software, restoring settings,
    >restoring emails and getting all of their setting just right,
    >for the third time and then not getting compensated properly for your effort.

    So charge by the hour.

    >Hey, owning a computer is a responsibility like owning a car.
    >You need drive your car responsibly, have insurance and when you
    >break the car you have to pay to fix it, so why are computers any different.

    They’re not, on that level. How’d you like to spend
    80% of the value of your car for routine repairs?

    Or be told your transmission is is unusable and must be replaced
    because the mechanic’s diagnostic protocal was too
    imprecise to detect and identify the problem?

    GS’ tactics would be illegal in the auto repair business.

    >You should practice safe computing by not going to shady websites
    >and loading every cool new widget that catches your eye and
    >why wouldn’t you have a backup in the first place and
    >not expect to pay to have your computer fixed when it broken.

    Wait, I’m confused. Are you here to provide a service, or a sermon?
    Are your rates intended to convey the value of your assistance, or
    are they supposed to be a punishment for bad behavior?

    >The internet is not always a friendly,
    >safe or forgiving place -so act accordingly.

    Apparently, neither is your local Geek Squad.


    HOOO-KAY. Who’s next?


    Ghosx says:
    >I work at Geek Squad.

    I feel for ya.

    >An in store data backup is for healthy drives only.
    >Backups for unhealthy drives are to be sent to an ontrack specialist
    >or “Geek Squad City” which admittedly is costly,
    >but has a higher chance of success.

    This is ridiculous. You should run a repair utility and then carry out
    the backup, with verification. Make sure the customer understands the backup
    may not be reliable, and allow them to decide how to proceed.

    >The agent this guy dealt with did a disservice to this
    >customer by offering an in store backup on a drive he knew was defective.
    >Not only did he waste this customer’s time, but also risked damaging his data.

    That depends upon the nature of the problem, the tech’s expertise, and
    the customers informed decision.

    >The customer took a risk in using his own methods to
    >get the data off his machine, and it’s fortunate that he was successful.
    >Sometimes it’s that easy, sometimes not.

    And if it’s not, you sure won’t get it fixed at GS–
    because GS would have already given up.

    >Sometimes it’s as easy as simply running the manufacturer’s own utilities,
    >but that’s not something we’re willing to risk at the store level.

    Apparently, the only thing GS *is* willing to risk is
    massive overcharging for elementary tasks and watching
    software execute.

    >To sum it up…

    That was good of you, but I’d suggest people google for more
    complete resources. If they don’t know how already,
    they’ll need more help than that.


    ZeeUberGeek says:
    >I have been employed by Geek Squad for the past eight months.
    >I can say that your case does have its issues, but it is not of the norm.
    >Here’s the rundown, as far as I can see it (
    >granted, I can only see one side of the story).
    >?1. $69 Diagnostic is the standard fee.
    >No if’s and’s or but’s, a diagnostic is $69.
    >If we found out that you needed to restore the machine, $69.
    >If we found out that you needed to un-select ‘mute’, $69.
    >Just the same as going to the car dealership.
    >If they find out that you failed to twist your gas cap tight enough,
    >they aren’t going to waive the fee.

    The problem is not the principle of a diagnostic fee, but the amount.

    Like most of what GS does, its hugely inflated.
    The checks described are mostly automated, with a few quick visual
    checks inside the case. The procedure takes a matter of minutes.
    And believe me–GS’ equipment, insurance costs, and the cost of your labor
    are not commensurate with that of the mechanics at an
    auto dealership or garage,and so their basic cost for a vehicle inspection,
    road check, and initial diagnosis. Which is about the same–around $70.

    ECON 101.

    >As far as what the diagnostic entails, we use 3 primary hardware tests:
    >Memtest86, Hitachi DFT (or the MFG-supplied hard drive testing suite),
    >and Eurosoft PC-Check.

    /golfclap

    >2. If your hard drive so much as had a bad sector,
    it MUST be deemed a bad hard drive.
    Either the MFG-supplied HD test program, or PC-Check flagged your
    drive as failing SMART, read/read verify, write/write verify,
    mechanics stress, etc. This is a policy issue.

    Having a bad sector is not the same thing as failing SMART checks.
    Disks may very well have a few sectors go bad here
    and there over their lifetime. This does not mean the
    disk is unusuable or is about to have massive failure.

    >3. If your hard drive fails a test, we can still attempt a data backup.
    >As long as it isn’t mechanically shot,
    >the file/partition table is mostly intact,
    >we can get as many files as possible.

    That’s good to hear, although your colleague above contradicts this assertion.

    >Let’s assume that you want 10 arbitrary files, totalling 7GB.
    >$99 for all backups under 9.4GB (2 DVD’s).

    Why does an unattended backup cost $100?

    >Now let’s assume that due to the hard drive failure we can only get
    >9 of the 10 files you want. We have advanced data recovery services
    >through OnTrack Data Recovery that are available
    >(per what O. said, he was offered). We can either send your drive to
    >OnTrack for recovery, give you what files we WERE able to get
    >(for the full fee), or refund your money and give you NO data.
    >Assuming we could only get 1 of the 10 files, and you wanted that one,
    >we would STILL have to charge you the full amount.

    Anyone can pay OnTrack or another forensic service for data recovery.
    Charging for partial data is OK, but again the fee is just too high.
    What did anyone do to earn that $100? It’s extortionate.

    >4. In regards to being able to load the filesystem under Linux,
    >that does not imply that there are no defects to the drive itself.
    >The defects may have been in free, un-used space
    >(though it’s more likely that it was the space the registry hive occupied).
    >I am very glad to hear that you were able to use Linux to back up your data,
    >…Linux is not at our disposal. Once again, a policy issue.

    GS should provide authorized Linux based tools. There are plenty out there
    that commercial entities can use, or GS could pay someone to roll their own.

    Now, what would have happened to the customer if he hadn’t been
    bold enough to attempt his own recovery with Linux based tools?

    >5. There are some (although not very good) explanations for
    >the poor turn-around time that you experienced.
    >The most likely are that the Precinct is simply busy,
    >or does not have a large enough labor budget.
    >At our current precincy, the past few weeks have shown the
    >trend that for every six machines we complete, seven are checked in.
    >As you should be able to infer, this could lead to some pretty big wait times.
    > Our Awaiting Work queue is currently at about 35 computers.
    >That means that there are 35 computers which must be completed
    >before a new checkin will ever hit the bench (give or take,
    >because our bench can hold ten machines).
    >Currently, we have a 4-6 day wait before we will ever even have
    >the CHANCE to touch your machine. The number of machines in front
    >of yours may even GROW as machines that are awaiting work authorization
    >or customer information are inserted back into the queue
    >(machines are worked on in order of first checked-in to last.
    >If someone brought their machine in four weeks ago, and
    >neglected to bring in their recovery discs until today,
    >that means that they get bumped ahead of a new checkin,
    >because it’s been there longer). I wouldn’t blame the
    >Geek Squad precinct for this so much as the
    >Best Buy store in which they reside.

    GS doesn’t control their own hiring and firing? Are you saying the BBY
    manager is ultimately the GS manager too, and that GS doesn’t have it’s
    own seperate management and HR? If so, that’s a disaster.

    If you have labor problems this severe something is very wrong with management.

    02/27/07 10:45 PM
    Zinger says: [reply to this comment]
    >First of all all of you people have no clue
    >what its like to be in the Geek Squad.
    >You think you know what your talking about.

    I’m confident I’m more knowledgable about computers than any GS
    employee I’ve encountered, yes. I have no idea what it’s like to
    intentionally fleece my clients, or to work in an oppressive atmosphere
    like BBY, no.

    >Geek Squad Standards are to offer the customer
    >what will make their life easier.

    By relieving them of that vexing weight in their wallets?

    >I understand that you think they might have over charged you but they didnt.
    >You think that a diagnostic only covers booting the computer.
    >But its many tests on RAM, HDD,
    >Spyware & Viruses (if the computer was in working condition),
    >Mobo, Slots in the computer, Optical drives, etc.
    >With a big corporation there are many things to consider even
    >though you say you can get your data back with Linux or Getdataback?
    >I am sure you can, who the hell can’t run a piece of software?

    The ‘diags’ you describe are simply less powerful “pieces of software.”
    You’re arguing against the value of the service you just said we should
    all shut up and thank you for.

    >But Legal actions on using this type of software for
    >business use takes time and money.

    GNU/Linux can be used commercially without breaking any licenses. Noob.

    >When you have barely enough people working the counters
    >with stupid people asking questions like whats wrong with my computer,
    >and calling the store and asking how can I delete these viruses?

    News flash: you work in customer service. THIS IS YOUR JOB.
    HELLO?

    >Its tough to get to the many computers in line.
    >Trust me your not the only one who has to wait.

    “Welcome to the Best Buy Republic of Geeksquadistan.
    Take a number, give us your money,
    sit in the corner, and shut the f**k up.”

    >A backup is like you said not gaurenteed you signed
    >the paper work as it was stated.
    >In my opinion you should not have received any refund.
    >You were quoted a price you said ok.

    What many people are complaining about is bait and switch, or a failure
    to perform the service as described. It sounds like reps are either
    overselling, or underexplaining their service. I have no trouble
    explaining to even the most computer illiterate user what an
    “unreliable” backup is.

    >As for college kids making minimum wage and people with A+ Certs,
    >Yeah anyone can read a book and pass a test no doubt in my mind,
    >but the experience comes in working in the field.
    >Its not tough to learn or fix a computer anyone can use google.
    >But I don’t believe you should be judging everyone that has an
    >A+ cert dumb or incompitent.

    No one is saying that. But there are many A+ certified techs out there
    who are both of those things. And many didn’t understand and couldn’t actually
    explain much of what is in the A+ spec, even if they passed the test.

    What GS needs to do is pay a little more. GS is getting what its paying for–
    even if its customers are not.

    >In fact $415 was actually priced out
    >wrong anyways, depending on the drive that was purchased they
    >should have charged a hardware installation.

    Riiight. So it should have cost even MORE!! YAAAY!
    You can build a new 3.0ghz P4 machine w/1GB RAM, a 200GB HDD, DVDRW
    and a decent 3D card, nice case, keyboard, mouse, etc., for $500–easy.

    Get real.

    >People come to the Geek Squad because they do not know where to go for help.
    >The Geek Squad is there to help as best as they can.
    >You want premium service go to Geek Squad,
    >you want Joe Blow using Illegal Software and
    >adding shit like Spybots on your comptuer and
    >telling you Limewire is the best software out
    >there then look them up in a paper.

    This makes me angry, but I’ll just let its ignorance speak
    for the mindset and experience and maturity
    of the typical Geek Squad employee.

    >if you don’t like the price find a friend to fix your computer,
    >and once they are don’t messing it up,
    >bring it by the Geek Squad to have them do it right.

    KEK!


    Zinger says: [reply to this comment]
    >It seems that some people have a problem with
    >Geek Squad and some have a problem with the people.

    Some like say TOH-MAY-TOE, and some say TOH-MAH-TOE.
    But they all hate Geek Squad.

    >Its not like its the people who take your computer ins
    >fault for charging 129 for an OS install.

    Yeah. But it’s their fault when they screw up diagnosing problems,
    triggering the Geek Squad Flow Chart of Lies and Financial Ruination.

    >Its the corporation. The people working there cannot
    >help the prices that they have to charge people.

    Then quit. It’s called ethics. If you can really fix computers,
    and can understand networks, get a better job. Let GS whither.
    Technical workers should not want GS to suceed, anyway.
    You’re assisting in the commoditization of your own expertise.

    >The reason a diagnostic was charged was because the customer
    >did not know if the hard drive was bad.
    >In fact if they wanted they could have just
    >gone to the Geek Squad and said all I want is a HDD installed
    >and the OS installed. Geek Squad would have
    >bypassed the Diagnostic and did what the customer asked.

    The GS rep above says that this is no longer permitted. And why
    should the customer have had to know to ask for this exception,
    while it was in place?

    >But what if the HDD was not the problem?
    >What if it was the mobo or the ram then they had charged
    >the customer money for somthing they did not need. Its a risk everyone takes.

    You’re comparing apples to oranges. Work not requested =/= work requested.

    >Also it is not legal to fire somone who is not hitting numbers.

    Current evidence does not suggest that BBY or GS observe rules like
    this with great devotion and assiduousness.

    >Their job is to fix computers and make money for the company no doubt,
    >but to fire somone because they lie to customers just to hit numbers
    >is illegal and Geek Squad does not tolerate such acts from managers.

    Let’s hope not, for their employees’ sake.

    >I however love my job, I make the customers I deal with happy.
    >I make them feel that every service they
    >purchase from me was worth the money.

    That’s good to hear. I agree that this is what makes you
    feel appreciated at the end of the day, and that’s a nice feeling.

    >So if your gonna be pissed off don’t be pissed off
    >at the people working at the Geek Squad,
    >its not their fault they are just
    >doing what they have to in life.

    Somebody’s in charge. And some GS techs are not ethical.

    >They do not make extra money charging
    >you an arm and a leg for somthing not needed.

    I would suggest that this is in fact the operation’s entire
    business model.

    vermonttheatre says: [reply to this comment]
    >Let me give you some information about Geek Squad policies and practices.
    >First of all, Not! everyone should have a computer.

    Quit tomorrow, and apply for work as a DMV clerk.
    You’ve missed your calling.

    >85% of the time that we see a BSOD come into the store the
    >problems are not being caused by a dead HDD.

    And?

    >Most of the time it is a bad driver most likely caused by a Windows update,
    >or some Malware that the computer received because
    >their owners don’t want to believe that
    >Gateway, HP and Dell do not put on protection unless you pay extra for it.

    Maybe you should tell them that Windows Defender, AdAware, Spybot S&D,
    ClamWinAV, Kerio firewall, ZoneAlarm, etc. are all available online for free.

    So, for that matter, are full (or better) featured
    equivalents for all of your ‘diag’ tools.

    Free.

    >Geek Squad in store tech work on a first come first serve basis.
    >If a computer that is before yours in line is giving them
    >difficulties then your computer will take longer.
    >This is the only fair way to help all customers.

    No–to reuse the car analogy: you stop rebuilding an engine to do a quick
    tire rotation or brake job, if your garage is backing up. Or the medical
    analogy: you don’t ignore triage patients, or minor injuries easily treated,
    while you wait for a burn victim to recover.

    >Geek Squad has to charge a diagnostics for
    >every computer that comes in for repair.

    What happens if it doesn’t, and it just does them for free?
    The universe explodes?

    Certainly, they could charge much less.

    >If you purchased the Service plan this
    >diagnostics charge is covered under the plan.

    OHH–so the supposed mandatory charge is just a billy club used to drive
    plan sales. Yay!

    >This diagnostics takes geek squad between 2 to 5 hours to complete.
    >We check the HDD, RAM, Motherboard, Network interface card.
    >USB ports and a list of lost of other checks such as dust and fan functionality.

    Software does this. Where’s the labor cost in this procedure? You’re just
    there to plug the results into your flowchart of doom.

    >They also check for distended capacitors.

    Gotta watch out for those distended capacitors. In my twenty odd years of
    computing, I’ve seen—zero.

    Oh.

    >If best buy did not charge this charge and make sure there
    >were no other problems we would have customers coming in
    >all the time with complaints that we did not fix their problems.

    You can’t complain that a free test didn’t fix anything.
    If I offer free cancer screening, that doesn’t expose
    me to lawsuits for failing to cure cancer. Liability for
    false negatives can be disclaimed, with some limitations,
    especially with a free service.

    >At my store, we had a customer that came in who sounded like he
    >knew a little bit about computers. He informed us that his HDD was
    >dead and he wanted a new one installed. Because this guy sounded
    >like he knew what he was talking about we installed a new HDD
    >and sent him off to re install his OS.
    >This customer came back in the next day to return the
    >HDD install because he said the computer was still not working.
    >We had to return the labor and HDD for the customer.

    No, you didn’t. It’s funny that you guys cave in when you don’t have to, and
    then turn around and engage in a bunch of unethical practices that are
    in fact not permissable.

    >It turned out his problem was a dead stick of memory.
    >If we had kept the computer in for a diagnostics
    >we would have found this out and let the customer know his true problem.

    And then you would have charged him $70 for running MEMTEST.

    >Most of the time the customers are so stupid when it comes to
    >computers that no matter what you say they will never be happy.

    Then I guess you might as well rip them off, eh?
    They deserve it, the idiots.

    >We are here to provide a full service work, not do half-assed work.

    Every post here by GS reps supports the perception that you on the
    average lack the expertise, resources and attitude to provide
    “full service work” but rather that all of your work is “half-assed”
    –by official decree and company policy!

    >We try to have a computer tun-a-round time of one to two days,
    >but when we get 25 computers in an afternoon
    >this time frame becomes impossible.

    Then mangement is failing, or the business model is broken.

    >If you don’t like to have to wait a week then call
    >1-800-GeekSquad and schedule an
    >in-home agent who will do all of this work in front of you.
    >It will cost a little more to have someone come out,
    >but we would be providing a premium service.
    >Even doctors do not make house calls any more.

    No, but your competition does, and provides by far better quality of work
    for customers willing to pay. By the time a GS housecall is added up,
    most customers would have been able to employ a $80/hour consultant for
    at least three hours, if not more like four or five plus.

    I’m talking about professional IT contractors specializing in
    small businesses here. Compared to Geek Squad.

    >According to recent polls people’s greatest fears
    >with computers if loosing data.
    >That is why we offer this backup service every time.

    Customers have indicated that they are coerced into purchasing the backup.

    >Sometimes we can get the Data off and sometimes we cannot.
    >According the Best Buy SOP if NO data can be backed-
    >up you WILL get a FULL refund. I have do this all the time.
    >If we are able to get some data, but not all of it this charge will remain.

    You are again contradicting other reps above, and you are misusing
    terms of art.

    Is the customer charged if any data is *RECOVERED* (you find data)
    or *RESTORED* (the recovered data is placed
    on a functioning drive)? “Backed up” just means copied to offline storage
    –i.e., placed on the backup media.


    >It is on the contract you signed before we charged you for this backup.
    >Go ahead read it, we mostly only have problems with
    >the people who do not read before they sign.

    Everyone should read the contracts they sign. Although I still believe
    that GS violates theirs routinely.

    As for the Linux argument, Best Buy does not currently have
    corporate approval to use this tool.

    Suse and Knoppix, or what ever flavor you like, is free to consumers it
    is not for commercial use.

    Linux can be licensed for commercial use. Some distros are free for
    commercial use.

    >According to the GPL, if you read that, the software not
    >approved for commercial use with out prior permission.

    Please don’t talk about that which you clearly do not understand.
    These distinctions are of extreme importance to some of us out
    here in the profession and on “teh intarwebz.”

    >Secondly, The cost of BBY’s backup if extremely affordable.

    In Pesos.

    >Comparatively, any other data recovery center you
    >would take it too would cost much more.
    >They range any ware from 200 to upwards of 3000 dollars to recover your data.

    Those services are providing data recovery services on a much deeper level
    than GS is. GS’ recovery amounts to using the same kind of tools users could
    easily run themselves.

    SpinRite and Acronis together are less than $170, by a longshot. And that’s
    staying withing the boundaries of friendly, commercial Windows software.
    image its partitions using whatever tool is preferred.

    >On to the complaint about GS agents not being certified.
    >This is not true, we have over 60,000 Vista Certified Agents.

    AH. AHA. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

    That means you’ve undergone sales training of upselling unsuspecting noobs
    to Vista–which will have them returning soon to buy a new sytem, due to HW
    demands.

    Congratulations on being whored out to Microsoft. For nothing in return.

    >Every store’s Geek Squad Supervisor HAS to be A+ Certified.

    That A+ is good enough for a supervisory position is not something
    to brag about.

    >If you ask anyone who is actually knows about these
    >tests will tell you they don’t mean anything.

    Well, A+ sure doesn’t mean much. Better than nothing, if its
    all you have to go on, but all in all fairly unreliable. And
    its an awfully low bar–both in terms of whats in the spec
    and the scores needed to pass.

    >I have known so many people who hold these certifications and
    >I would not trust them with my calculator.
    >This certification only tells us that this person
    >took a book and practiced for a 200 test that
    >provides you with a piece of paper that
    >makes your bullshit smell a little better.

    Again, this is true for many certs–including A+–but not all of them.
    Personally, I haven’t bothered with certs, because I don’t do any
    really specialized support or development
    (as in dedicated to a specific product)
    which is where they make sense.

    >You talk to anyone why actually knows computers and
    >they will tell you that experience in the field
    >is much more valuable than any number of certifications.

    And this is exactly what GS lacks.
    GS is isolated from real world experience–the employees
    it trains actually learn to confuse what they do
    with the provision of real service from an actual expert.

    >I know there are a lot of people who hate us.
    > We do not get it right all the time,
    >but when you are the Biggest computer repair team in the world
    >there are bound to be people who hate you and want to bring you down.

    Dell’s support subcontractors just burst out laughing. Amongst others.

    >I apologized to you if you feel that BBY
    >wronged you in some way, but get over it.

    That always goes over well in customer service and customer relations.
    Good job!

    >When you are on the TOP people only want to bring you down.

    Again, I must thank you and all the other GS reps for all the Lewlz.

    Really, it’s almost too much.

  54. dugfresh says:

    BEST BUY TECH FRIED POWER SUPPLY. ADMITS NOT CHECKING IT FIRST OR EVEN GROUNDING HIMSELF WHILE WORKING. Full story below.

    LOL. I read about 1/3 of these comments before I got too antsy, and jumped to the bottom to put in my own 2 cents. I’m sure there are some good techs at Best Buy, but they hire some pretty lame people as well.

    My “second-hand” Best Buy/Geek Squad story is that after I diagnosed my mom’s computer problems as not having enough RAM. She went to Best Buy, bought the RAM, and they installed it for free.

    According to my mom, the tech was showing off and bragging to his buddy about doing the job one-handed. When he tried turning on the computer after the install, there wasn’t any power. He fried the power supply by not grounding himself to her computer.

    She was right there watching him, and after I asked her if the tech tried any one of various ways to stop static charge build-up– including a wrist strap or mat– she said he did none of the measures to prevent static electricity from damaging the computer. From what I hear, he just opened it up and went to town.

    Lucky for my mom, when he tried to sell her a new power supply, she bitched about it working just fine before he touched it. He admitted he should of checked the computer before the install and put a new power supply in for free.

    I’m not going to debate experience, but if he were A+ certified, he would of had to have known about grounding himself when working with electronics, and would have saved Best Buy a power supply. On the flip side, if he did have an A+ cert, he could keep it forever without recertifying. Kind of like having a driver’s license but when you turn 85, nobody can turn you in for bad tech skills.

    A lot of people can learn to be software geeks just off the Internet, but a lot less learn about hardware and electricity when using the same medium.

    I say having an A+ is way better than nothing at all, and I think tech support companies should require at least that, or even train the employees to get it.

    In my opinion, sounding smart and BS’ing your way through a Geek Squad (or any other company)interview doesn’t prove you really know enough to do the job effectively, but an A+ cert test that takes a lot longer than a job interview proves a bit more about your hardware and/or software skills.

  55. dugfresh says:

    Best Buy tech fries power supply while installing RAM, then tries to sell elderly woman a new one. — Full story below.

    LOL. A lot of comments, and long ones at that, too. I thought a headline would let you decide if mine is worth reading.

    I’m sure there are some good techs at Best Buy, but they hire some pretty lame people as well.

    My “second-hand” Best Buy/Geek Squad story is that after I diagnosed my mom’s computer problems as barely having enough RAM for her normal programs, let alone trying to now run Google Earth with it. She went to Best Buy, bought the RAM, and they installed it for free.

    According to my mom, the tech was showing off and bragging to his buddy about doing the job one-handed. When he tried turning on the computer after the install, there wasn’t any power. He fried the power supply by not grounding himself to her computer, then tried to sell her a new one. Lucky for my mom, she bitched about it working just fine before he touched it, and he then admitted he should have checked the computer before opening it up and doing anything to it.

    She was right there watching him, and after I asked her if the tech tried any one of various ways to prevent ESD– including a wrist strap or mat– she said he did none of the measures to prevent ESD from damaging the computer. From what I hear, he just opened it up and went to town.

    I’m not going to debate experience, but if he were A+ certified, he would of had to have known about the importance of grounding himself when working with electronics, and would have saved Best Buy a power supply. On the flip side, if he did have an A+ cert, he could keep it forever without ever recertifying. Kind of like having a driver’s license, except when you turn 85, nobody can turn you in for bad tech skills.

    A lot of people can learn to be software geeks just off the Internet and BS their ways into a phone support tech position, working their way up from there. But there is no standard benchmark on how much they know without those certs. Any hack can get a job as a tech, but only an A+ hardware/software tech has certified that they graduated from newbie to someone with at least 6 mo. experience under the hood… and knows to ground yourself when working with computers.

    For those of you wondering, I don’t have the A+ certs, but took the classes in college. Also worked for a Fortune 500 company with lots of other non-certified techs. I worked with a few hacks there. If they can slip into a Fortune 500 company, they are everywhere. My mom lives out of town so I couldn’t fix her computer, just diagnose her problem.

  56. Musician78 says:

    Ya know what sucks? When you post a long reply and nobody responds to it.

  57. dafonda says:

    Heh. Just thought someone should answer the reps, for anyone who finds this thread some time down the road from now. I didn’t really expect an explicit reply to a post that long. ;P

  58. NedraH says:

    Well, this commentary gets more interesting as the days go by. In reading the comments from current and ex-BBY/GS techs I begin to suspect their level of expertise is inversely proportional to the amount of bitching they do. The biggest bitchers are the ones I wouldn’t want near my computer.

    As I’ve been following this, I learned more about my own computer. We found one of the new memory boards has one or more bad chips, and this probably explains why my XP became corrupted, sending the system into an infernal boot loop that could never quite finish.

    I started studying computers in the good old days of DOS and CPM/MPM and some other interesting operating systems.

    One GP comment that I found confusing was that the customer needed to buy a new hard drive because the machine had a BSOD. Another was that the HDD had to be replaced because there was a bad sector on the drive.

    - Whatever happened to locking out sectors? What happened to running the Windows repair program on the o/s -or- if this fails, reinstalling windows o/s ???

    My machine is doing well because my hubby used the XP Repair programs on the computer, and, when we realized one memory board has bad chips, removing that so the problem doesn’t recur.

    When I did more tech work as well as customer training and support, it always bothered me that the customers came to me to ask questions and then gave their money to slick talkers who didn’t really do them any good. But… it’s just a fact of life… the smooth talkers often take work away from the more reliable computer techs by their suave commentary. The customer often doesn’t know enough about the computer, and doesn’t recognize who’s the better tech or support person. What I did to give MY customers the best support was to find an EXCELLENT local tech and, when I couldn’t do the tech support work needed by the computer, I took it to him and he charged me, and I added a small upcharge for taking the computer to a good tech and transporting it from and back to my customer’s residence or business.

    Dafonda, I think your comments touched on most of the other commentaries. I found your reply very entertaining. It must have taken quite a bit of time to do such an extensive reply to so many people in one posting. Wish you worked in the Knoxville area!
    :-D

  59. NedraH says:

    BTW: CompUSA’s data backup is $99. for up to five (5) DVD’s – and additional charge if it goes over FIVE. That’s 2 1/2 times as much backup data as GS gives for the same service!

    Where I live, BBy doesn’t have much good equipment when we are looking for wireless connectivity. Sadly, there aren’t lots of computer stores or computer consultants in the Knoxville area. We have CompUSA, Best Buy, some stuff at Staples and Office Depot and maybe Office Max, but nothing like what I had available when I lived in SoCal!

  60. SysKoll says:

    So according to this “Geek Squad” member, Linux is not approved for commercial use.

    I laughed out loud on that one. Good going.

    Of course this is a DUMB argument. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that since IBM, HP, SGI, Oracle, and countless others are using and selling Linux, the Geeksquaddie is obviously wrong.

    I’m going to keep away from GS from now on. Thank you for displaying your ignorance and incompetence as a free warning.

  61. dextrone says:

    I HATE BEST BUY, I HAD THE EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE…they erased my HDD and I COULD NEVER FIND A WAY TO GET THE DATA( they reformatted the entire thing) and they said it was necessary BECAUSE my computer kept on freezing, apparently my 12-year-old son figured out that it was THE RAM, and I paid ~$300 for FRAUD(that’s what I consider it)…….

    ………………iHate —> Connecting —> BestBuy = Perfect Match

    A simple inequality:
    BestBuy

    {Any Other Thoughts: They try to win me over my giving me a 25$ gift card AFTER I GIVE THEM A 5 MINUTE TALK ABOUT ETHICS(I could have kept going BUT being a doctor, duty calls(in this case my 7p.m.-7a.m. night shift)}

  62. quagmire0 says:

    @Zinger: Give me a break dude! I work in IT and all those ‘diagnostics’ are PURE B.S. 99.9% of broken computers can be broken down into **maybe** a dozen problems. Rarely is it ever the case of a RAM chip going bad or a PCI slot or anything like that. Most people, when they bring in their computer, have an issue with either: 1. Spyware/Viruses or 2. Hard drive data corruption/physical errors. Both problems do not require extensive ‘tests’ to determine exactly what’s wrong. SO, if you are a Geek Squad member and you are running these diagnostic discs that take hours to run, you are wasting your and the customer’s time.

    In this case, if the guy was getting the seemingly (according to GS) all-encompasing ‘Blue Screen of Death’, I can tell you the quickest way to see if you can recover it is to boot with the OS disc, go into recovery console, do a chkdsk /r and run the fixboot and fixmbr. If those don’t fix the problem, you can scan for viruses using a tool like sysclean in safe mode. If that’s not the problem, then it is most likely a physical problem with the disc – IN THAT CASE ONLY – does it become a harder problem to fix. HOWEVER, a big corporation like Best Buy **should** have the data recovery tools at their disposal.

    That being said, there are instances where you’d have to strip the platters out and do some crazy stuff to get the data, but in this instance, a good 30 minutes (not 12 days) spent with the computer would have resulted in the fix they needed. Not to mention the fact that if this was a normal retail computer, it probably had the product key for the windows version it came with on the case, so the OS load shouldn’t have been that expensive.

  63. Technologik says:

    I’ve been in the IT business for 15 years. This simple problem was either a driver issue or a INVALID_BOOT_VOLUME issue, witch is as simple as disabling the faulty driver or running a chkdsk , fixboot or fixmbr on the drive. Bring it me I’ll fix for $65.00 FLAT RATE.

  64. LLH says:

    big box company…proper “diagnostic” tools = computers that don’t need to come back for “repair”
    running computers…loss of pure profit on employees that stand there and run further “diagnostics” on computers now “working”

    here’s something to digest…this website’s called ‘consumerist’ for a reason…hopefully we are the people who research and are more informed about the money we spend on things (assuming the GS lackeys that have posted have had a moral compass inserted in their brains, seen the light, and demand the respect/$ their pc tech skills deserve and quit GS after seeing this site) and would pass on our bank of knowledge (this fine site) to those NOT in the know instead of calling the suckers stupid for not knowing. if some company spends millions on cute, dumbed down ads aimed at potential “suckers” that have not educated themselves on the computers bought at the chain stores (that don’t bother to offer any help for just that reason) these people feel that is the only choice they have, not realizing that ad has to be paid for by their ill gotten $. like most in the know have said – get a friend that has a computer that runs most of the time to recommend his/her repair person. that person will answer questions, show you how to do things the correct way etc…not fearing of an educated client, but gaining a larger client base because of the honesty and willingness to share his knowledge at a fair market price.

    oh, and i’m a mac user that doesn’t have those pesky problems :p

  65. deadman3913 says:

    I have had a very similar experience to Mr.O’s. I have been a long time customer of Best Buy with generally good experiences with their repair dept. (with good service and timely call-backs). On Jan. 28, ’07, I brought my laptop in to have the back-light in the monitor and headphone jack repaired. When I turned in the unit, I purchased the “One Time Data Backup” to protect my data from the inevitable catastrophic loss for $159. I was verbally assured by the tech on duty that the data gets backed up on DVDs BEFORE it gets sent off to the repair shop. I was then given the industry standard of two weeks for repair.

    Fifteen days later, I strolled into BB:GS to inquire about the status of my laptop. GS informed that the unit had been “Junked Out” and that they were going to give me a brand new laptop. When I asked about my data, the tech (a different one from before) informed me that there was no record of the request for data back-up. He told me he would call the repair shop and have the hard drive sent over and that he would perform the back-up personally, and that he would call me in 2-4 days.

    After five days waiting, and no phone call, I went back to BB to find out what was going on. An new tech had no idea what I was talking about and said he would call repair and find out the status of the hard drive. I should expect a phone call in two days.

    Three days later, still no phone call, I went to BB to speak with yet another new face. He stated that BB does not guarantee back-ups and that the hard drive may have been bad. After stating that there was no problem with the hard drive when i brought it in, another new tech (this time someone stating he was in charge that day)proceeded to inform me that he had tried to back-up my data personally and that the hard drive was indeed bad. This was news to me since there were no previous techs who could find any record of work or request. His best response was, “You should have gotten a phone call.” I later spoke with the store manager who said he would personally look into the problem and would call me back. He never did.

    I spoke with the the corporate Customer Affairs Dept and have gotten the similar run around with no follow-up call backs.

    As of now, I have my inoperable hard drive back, my $159 has been refunded, and am now faced with a possible $1500 bill to have my data recovered.

    I understand BB accepts no responsibility for lost data, but if I pay to protect that data, shouldn’t that make them responsible? Are we back to the old days of buyer beware?

  66. noctum says:

    First off, I’m not doubting that the customer was ‘screwed’ for lack of a better term. The one thing I can say in defense of Geek Squad is that you should have read over the Service Order that the Agent who checked you in *should* have given you. Read the warranty information on the services from number six; “For no additional charge, Geek Squad/Best Buy will correct any hardware defects in workmanship of the repair services provided they are reported to Geek Squad/Best Buy within 90-days from the date of pick up.”

    As far as the issue related to the turn-time, it’s safe to assume that the department was extremely busy. However, on the same token, disclaimer item number two states, “I understand that Geek Squad/Best Buy will strive to meet the Estimated Completion Date, but that date may be changed by Geek Squad/Best Buy.”

    I think it’s easily picked up on that I do work for Geek Squad/Best Buy, and have for almost two years. I can also sympathize with this one customer in their issue. It was clearly an issue of a customer being sold the wrong service and not treated properly regarding the service policies. However, it would have been in this customer’s best interest to speak with an employee outside the Geek Squad, i.e. the manager on duty in the store, etc. due to the fact that in my experience with Geek Squad/Best Buy if a service was not performed in full the fee is normally refunded in full. The only exception is the data backup service where, as explained above, if only some of the data can be extracted, we contact the customer and let them know the options; if they do not want partial but want the full backup, we either send it to Geek Squad City / OnTrack for an estimate on cost of the backup, or we do not back it up at all. Whichever the customer prefers.

    I don’t want to say what’s already been said, but coming from a Geek Squad/Best Buy employee I can say that the individual from this article was unfairly treated, but I personally think the Geek Squad is a great service. And, as above mentioned, is like any other service in the world; you pay to have work done because you are either unwilling or unable to do the work yourself. Do you think you could change your own oil? Probably so. Would you rather pay $20-$30 to have it done quickly, and know that it’s done right? I think so.

    If the $69 diagnostic is done properly, it’s usually worth the customer’s money. When doing a diagnostic on a customer unit, I do a physical inspection of the capacitors then run the Geek Squad supplied (as said before, there is an approved list of tools used) diagnostic software. If the computer boots to Windows, various software scans are run on the computer to check for possibly virus or spyware problems. We try to our best to advise the customer on our findings and if applicable, offer our services to provide a complete solution.

    As a Geek Squad/Best Buy employee, I can honestly say that the customer’s unique needs are in our best interest; we naturally try, as any company, to keep customer loyalty. How is this done? The obvious fair treatment and good business practices. Something else to take into consideration, as of posting this there are 842 Best Buy stores in the world, every one of them including a Geek Squad, as well as numerous stand-alone Geek Squad kiosks. It was unfortunate this particular store performed an injustice to the customer, but as a whole, I truly believe Geek Squad is valuable to the consumer who is unwilling or unable to do the work themselves.

    Thanks.

  67. Zmidponk says:

    If ‘O’ is reading this, it seems to me you might have a case for, essentially, being charged for doing nothing. Don’t follow?

    Here’s what you got charged for:

    Price to diagnose: $69.00
    OS Install: $129.00
    Back up transfer: $99.00
    New hard drive: $118.00

    OK, the $129.00 was for installing the OS, which they did do on your new hard drive, so they’re simply MASSIVELY overcharging you.

    Their charge for diagnosis, well, they diagnosed ‘Blue Screen of Death’. That isn’t a diagnosis. That’s simply saying ‘an error message pops up when you turn the machine on’. YOU probably told THEM that much when you went into the store. A diagnosis would be figuring out what is causing that to happen. They eventually thought hard drive failure was to blame and that was, basically, completely wrong.

    Their charge for backing up your files, well, THEY THEMSELVES said that was impossible. How can they charge you for doing something they said was impossible, or, more accurately, NOT doing something they said was impossible? You later retrieved the files yourself, proving that this was not impossible, but that’s just more evidence of BB’s incompetence.

    The $118.00 for a new hard drive – fair enough, they did provide a new hard drive. However, this was only because they told you you needed a new one, which was utterly and completely incorrect.

    If I were you, if they refuse to refund most, if not all, of your money after approaching them, I’d sue them through small claims for at least $315 of the $415 you paid (I think $29 for simply sticking a disc in a PC’s drive and allowing an OS to install itself is quite reasonable), plus, of course, any expenses you incur by doing this, plus a reasonable figure for inconvenience and stress. In fact, if I were you, I’d mention to BB you were planning to do this as a last resort before actually doing it. It might make them see that it’s cheaper for them to pay what you want rather than have to go to the expense of defending themselves and possibly have to pay even more if you win.

  68. Zmidponk says:

    @swalve:

    ’5) She brought the computer in, they told her the charge, they told her there was no guarantee. I would have left. But she said “ok go ahead with the work”. What’s her beef?’

    Sorry, if someone says to me ‘I’ll try to do retrieve your files, but there’s no guarantee’, I’ll take that to mean there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to get everything, or that anything they do get will be in a usable state. From what this article says, they basically came to the conclusion that the hard drive was borked beyond repair, and so didn’t even attempt to retrieve any files. How can they then justify charging for doing something they didn’t do, as it was ‘impossible’? The fact the customer then went on to prove it was NOT impossible, to my mind, is only further evidence that they didn’t even make the attempt.

  69. dr_oxide says:

    Where’s your ESD approved wrist straps and ESD approved smocks and clothing? Improper ESD procedures everywhere! What about ESD floor treatment. Area’s not even posted as ESD. Shame shame on you! Zap goes someones board every minute! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zbxcZLRq7M&mode=related&se

    Purchased HP DV9008nr laptop 1-10-2007. Took it back to best buy 2-23-07 for keyboard problems. Instead of replacing it they sent it off and now claim it has water damage and is no longer under warranty and trying to charge $600 on service! We all know what the problem and the cause is in the electrical engineering department and it was not water damaged as claimed! We still have not received the computer back for us to reanalyze and further our documentation
    3-13-07 Still have not received laptop and still getting the run around from geek squad at our west store in Wichita KS. There delaying sending it back. Where sure the unit will not match or original photos or our original documentation!

  70. rocketguy says:

    I would like to start of by saying that I do work for GS.

    dr_oxide,
    Your claim about your laptop, really has nothing to with geek squad. The only thing that geek squad has done is sent your laptop to HP under Hp’s 1yr warranty. Hp is the company that is saying that it is water damage and taking there sweet time sending your laptop back.Your best bet is to contact HP directly. The only thing the people at geek squad can do is send an escalation to HP asking why they haven’t sent it back yet.

    Yes I have to agree that some of the price are really high, but best buy isn’t a charity. If you want a better deal, there are so many other places that have lower prices. You do not have to come to GS. If you can find a computer literate person that is willing to fix your computer, do so. If you are able and willing to do computer repair yourself and GS is not a service for you. On average the turn time is around two weeks. But some things do slip in a month or longer. The longer wait only should apply to items that have been sent to the service center(bestbuy’s or manufacturer’s).The main hold back is waiting for parts or shipping issues.

    The Diag, oh the diag, in my opinion is there pretty much to cover best buys ass. Sure I can diag a system visually and say it seem like corrupted system files and replace them. But under the service order agreement you have 90 days to bring forth any hardware issues you have after you receive your comp back.And the worst thing to do at gs is to have unpaid services.
    At first I didn’t like doing the diags, thought it was a waste of time, but it does allow me as a tech to rule out all hardware problems before trying to find the source of the software issue. It helps me be more thorough and keeps the customers from coming back with the same problem.

    Installing OS doesn’t seem that hard, click next a few times, monitor, click next a few more times. The hard part comes when trying finding drivers for the comp. Most users don’t brother making a restore disk not much less the drivers disc. Computer companies are slowly removing drivers from there web sites for some reason, or a discontinued model.From experience, when I’ve told customers that following the on screen prompts and clicking next is all that they have to do. They come back without the sound not working, the internet isn’t working because the nic driver didn’t install, and so on and so on. Os Installation includes installing the os, getting drivers, install all xp critical updates, especially for those people with sp1 install disc.

    Data Backup is called data backup, because we only back up data. That means we will manually transfer your requested word, music, and pics files to a dvd from a working hard drive. Anything more would be data recovery, which is a more expensive service that gs does offer. If we are not able to back up the data, the charge is refunded if the diag is paid or $99-$29 for no diag.If the the back up is cod there is 29 half hr labor. This is the policy at my store, some may be different.

    Installing any program cost 29 dollars, unless it is suite of programs like office, that cost $58. sure if you know how to install a program, good for you. But if your asking, this is a service we provide. Most software install are anti-virus+spyware programs. Most new user don’t know that you’ll have to uninstall the free trial security before installing the bought software.(we can’t make money off free security software for the people that say we are ripping people for making them pay for something they can get for free.) We make sure that the software is functioning properly,make sure auto update is functioning, registering it and updating the definitions.


    In this case it seems to me that there was a poor explanation of the services that was to be done. Or what I call a lack of communication. And the turn time should have been better or GS should have quoted a longer turn time.

    I still would have recommended all the services above, including the HD replacement since it was shown to be not reliable on a windows machine and the possible data backup.But would have refunded the backup cost without any problems.

    And for people that have legit questions about GS, post and I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability on how things are suppose to go.

  71. Sterling6 says:

    I would love to tell you of our experience my wife and I add with the Big Blue Box (Best Buy) in Green Bay Wisconsin. Trust me if I would have know of your Web site I would have heeded the warnings and advice of others that have had just horrible experience with Best Buy.

    Well here goes:

    My wife and I decided to take some of our Tax Return to buy us a new Washer, and Dryer. Well as usual we went to BB as we have done for in the last (9) years to buy all of our Big Price appliance items, as we have bought our (3) Desktop Computers, (2) Refrigerator, (1) Dishwasher, (2) TV’s (3) DVD Player’s, (2) VCR’s, (3) Surround Sound Systems…. etc…well you get the picture, close to $10,000.00 over those (9) years.

    Things seem to go smoothly with the purchase of both of them till the arraigning of the FREE delivery that was with the package deal. But the sales person worked out the glitches an made the delivery on Wed’s the 14th of February in the late afternoon. I informed the sales person that we had some serious plans made, and could they arraign it before or after the 14th. “No” was the reply that it was the only day they could make the delivery. Well ok I said, “but let’s make sure it happens”. No problem was the reply; a they would call us the night before to confirm the time in the afternoon. “Great”, I said, let’s do it.

    The night of the 13th we waited till around 9pm for their call. Nothing, no call. So I called the store a talked to the sale person that sold us the Washer/Dryer, and asked when they would be delivered. I waited on hold for over 20 minutes. Finally I called back and asked for the Manager on Duty. Waited other 10 minutes till he came on the line. I explained the situation to him; he stated he would check into this. After other 10 minutes he game back on the line. He stated that the Order for delivery was CANCELLED and that there was not going to be a delivery. Well my jaw dropped to the floor. “What the Hell was going on”, I asked, I know we didn’t cancel the order for delivery. I informed him of this and said this was not acceptable and that they would need to make the delivery as promised and that we would not be available for any other day. And why the Hell had this had happen. After waiting for other 15 minutes on the phone he finally came back on with ” it will be delivered tomorrow between 4pm an 6pm” OK I said great. As I was about to thank him he hung up, without an apology of any kind, or any explanation of what was going on? Well this should have clued me into Best Buy’s customer service policy of SCREW’EM AN LOSES’EM. Well as promise they did deliver the machines on time, but not with out some hassles there too.

    Where comes the good part:

    The following week my wife an I decided to buy a new laptop computer, and of course BB was having a Package Deal on a Toshiba laptop with Windows Vista installed and also with Mini mouse, and carrying case. This sounded great, and in our price arrange too. So we went into the Store and as usual we had to hunt down someone in the computer department to help us with the purchase. After finding a fresh Snot Nose Narcissistic Kid barely out of high school to help us, we decided to ask a few questions about the New Windows Vista system. We wanted to know if this laptop would be able to communicate with the other (3) computers we have in our home running Windows XP? And would it work with our Linksys Network Router System? And will we be able to share files, and to use our Lexmark Printer with this new Windows Vista, and our Network? ” Well of course it would…was his reply, with no problems. ” Well with that, and the blind trust I put in people we bought the laptop, and the extended service plan. And back home with our new toy.

    Well we got it home and started to set it up, and everything was going as smooth as silk till we tried to set up the Network to share files/folders with the other computers, and the printer. Now I am not illiterate when it comes to computers, nor am I an expert, but I knew something was a miss, and something was not right. Well it was late and we decided to wait till the morning to finish the setup.

    The following day was the Worst Frkin Nightmare I have had in 35 years (showing my age of 55) of dealing with any big business, and of course the worst day I ever had with Best Buy.

    I kept trying to make the Laptop communicate with the Network, and my other (3) computers. I would keep getting a Microsoft Windows Error of “not finding a Network”. After spending an hour on their web site I could find nothing, so I called them. I spent over 45 minutes waiting; finally I spoke to someone about the problem (because I thought since it was a Windows Error the would be able to help) no such luck. They said I would need to contact Toshiba about this since this was an OEM (original equipment manufacture) problem, and not theirs. “Great” Called Toshiba, nothing, this were their service person informs me that the new Windows Vista program will not work with the network, router, a printer if my other (3) computers are running Windows XP. “HOLY COW POOP”. This was Frkin Peachy. Toshiba suggested to call Best Buy to see what they can do for me, buy asking someone there if they could help set up the network to communicate with the other computers. Sounded like sense. So I did.

    So I called the Big Blue Box (BB) and spoke to same manager I had dealt with on the delivery problem. Wow that was the most stupid mistake I ever made. This manager was the biggest “DICK” I ever spoke to. I calmly explained the problem to him, an how I was led to believe that there would be no problem with this Laptop running Windows Vista to work with my computers, network, and printer. He told me point blank told me that his sales person would have “never would have told me such a thing”. God I was outraged, not only was He calling me a Lair but also it was quite clear that this worthless manager was not going to help me at all. I asked to speak to his Boss, (the store manager) SHE was not there. Then I asked how to get in contact with his District manager…. guess what…that’s right, he refused to give me that info also stating he did not know how, an even if he did he would not give me that info, because all customer concerns, and problems are handled at the store level, and that this problem did not warrant any further attention. What a worthless piece of human waste. I asked what was the name of his store manager, at first he was very hesent, and then he gave me her name.

    Well for the next (4) days I spent calling the Best Buy customer service line, (what a gdamn joke this is), calling their Corp Office, calling their District office, trying to get someone to listen and care about my problem. Again No-one gave a Royal flying Rats Ass about what was going on. Only to inform me that all the customer relation problems needs are handle at the Store Level. “My God, don’t they understand that here in lies the problem the Store Management and the rotten little peckerhead that sold me the Laptop. “NO>>>HELL NO”. So after nearly going to the Hospital because on my Blood Pressure I decided to give it up. Knowing that Best Buy had SCREWED ME IN THE ASS AN NEVER USED ANY TYPE OF LUB TO EASE THE PAIN. Then out of the Blue the lousy Store Manager called an gave me the lamest apology I ever heard but still would not help me with my problem only offering to send out the GEEK Squad to make my Laptop work with my other computers, an network. But of course this would cost me other $200.00 for their service. God what kind of sick joke these folks live under, what kind of CON-Game they are playing on the costumer, what kind of people believe they would have me come back an waste my money in their store after this kind of Bull Sh___t.

    God I pray, and beg anyone reading this not to buy your need’s at Best Buy, they will Lie, Cheat, an screw you up the behind so hard, that you will see stars. If any one reading this and still believes they will get good service from BB, all you will get is a Stroke.

    BEST BUY GO TO HELL YOU ROTTEN MOTHERF___KERS.

  72. AntiConsumerist says:

    I had so much to say as I scrolled down through these posts, but the last post really gets me. You bought a computer and you were told that it would work with your network and printer. Later, you couldn’t get it to work. This obviously means that Best Buy sucks and you were ripped off, not that you’re an uneducated consumer who should have had someone with technical expertise come set it up for you.

    So, you call up the company and they recommend having someone come out to get everything working, at the standard rate, because you obviously don’t know how. That means they’re totally screwing you and they should go to hell.

    Want to know the truth? You’re an idiot. I have set up SEVERAL Vista machines on XP networks with older printers, including Lexmark. No problems. When the sales guy said “no problem,” he meant it wouldn’t be a problem for someone who knows how to set up a network properly. You weren’t screwed, not even a little. You’re making consumers look bad by even posting this.

    I think you should e-mail the names of the associates who helped you to the store so they can reward them for offering you appropriate products and services.

    On other random notes, OS installs aren’t “stick the CD in and let it run.” There are drivers to track down, unknown devices in Device Manager to identify, updates and patches to install, trial software to uninstall that came on the OEM disk, etc etc etc. They do NOT install ANYTHING other than what’s on the OS disk when they do installs. They don’t install “Norton Trials,” and why would they? They SELL NORTON.

    If you’re going to complain about a $500 dollar repair bill, that’s fine. If you’re going to complain that they suggested buying a $500 dollar computer that would be better than your $500 dollar repaired 6 year old computer, that’s stupid. Take the deal. They make a HELL of a lot more money on the service than they do selling you a new computer. There’s no profit at all on a new system, so if they suggest that, they have your best interest in mind.

    A BSOD error is a common error. However, WHICH BSOD error is very important, and diagnosing from that is the entire reason the screen exists. However, in their shoes, I wouldn’t tell a customer “you have an UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME error that could possibly mean your hard drive is going out but at the very least means that there is corruption that can be repaired.” I would tell them “you have a BSOD, here’s the charge.” If you want details, ask, but you’ll have no clue what they’re talking about.

    NOBODY within Geek Squad is making 7 bucks an hour. I guarantee that. Nobody within firedog or any of the other computer repair services in major electronics stores is working for less than 9 or 10 bucks an hour, and several are in the mid to upper teens. Stop trying to pretend that you know what the wages are when all you do is bitch about the prices. You want the price to go down while the wage goes up, and that doesn’t happen.

    I have plenty more, but the point is that these guys do a GREAT job, several industry leaders have recognized their quality work and very high customer satisfaction ratings, the employee morale is always high at these stores, you’ll get better service from a place like this than at some little mom and pop shop that will put someone elses’s old used part in your machine.

    What it comes down to is that this place is a breeding ground for lies, distortion, libel against companies that don’t deserve the crap that you people make up about them. I’d really like to see someone from the companies you attack get you shut down for your lies.

  73. sunshinedefilade says:

    I know everyone here has had horrible times with Best buy. I work in Gulf Breeze, Florida. I work at the Office Depot as a full-time tech. First off, I always keep people away from corporations. Not just because they dont’ help people, but i tend to hold the belief that they’re not out to help you anyway. whenever a customer comes in and wants a laptop, i tell them right away, “wait a few months. let them work out all the bugs with vista. there’s no sense in creating unnecessary problems when you have a business to run or a family function to plan for. i don’t know a whole lot about tech, honestly. i’m upfront and honest about these things when selling anything in my section. if i don’t know, i tell you, but i then go look up the andswer myself, and i get you taken care of. i would have told that guy with the networking problem and vista that Toshiba was having problems all along. Gateways and Sonys are having rpoblems as well. HPs tend to be okay, butmost wont’ recognize a manually designated network. it’s vista, plain and simple.

    more importantly thought, is the customer service provided here. look, we all make mistakes. and i know what it’s like when a corporation is breathing down your neck to sell sell sell. and not to seem so crass or punkish , but i give them the finger and treat the customer respctfully (unless they’re just assholes, then i have no time for them–they generally only want to hear what they want to hear. and i can’t help someone like that. )life is short. this is just stuff. it isn’t that important, but if you’re going to take the time and money to purchase such things like a laptop or desktop, then ask the questions and LISTEN to the answers. i want to help. i want to make you smile and i want to see you excited to come back and see me. i’ll never steer you wrong, and that’ show customer service should be. i have been told that there aren’t enough guys out there like me who work like that, under this umbrella of honesty. but the truth is that i know life is short and this is just stuff. i want to get you in and out, but i want you to be happy and enjoy the things yo ujust purchased.

    oh. and don’t put your whole life on a machine. don’t you people read apocolyptic sci-fi novels? good luck :)

  74. jrd231 says:

    It not only amuses me, but also irritates me when I read things like this.

    Swalve rights

    “3) That said, the tech sounds like a moron. Who would ever think that a business called the Geek Squad would be reliable? And who thinks that someone willing to be called a geek for $10 an hour is going to good at anything?”

    I think it’s awesome that you believe that you can actually make a blanket statement like this any reasonably intelligent person would take anything else you say seriously. It must be nice to be so intelligent that you can know these things. How many people who posted a comment applied for a position at the Geek Squad and didn’t get hired? I’d be willing to bet there are at least a few, whether they’d be willing to admit it, has and is on here posting negative comments about a company they’ve never worked for.

    For those of you who can’t imagine a reason why anybody would take their computer to the Geek Squad, here’s one:

    Because your cousins friend’s son does NOT know what he’s doing.

  75. ysscl says:

    Hi!

    I’m new to this site, found my way through the muck clicking a link on woot.com.

    Anyway, the comment i really want to post here, is a reply to dafonda. The funny thing about it is i just found this site, like months after you posted, talk about irony.

    I just wanted to say that i started reading the comments, and i was getting confused by all seemingly sensible ones posted by seeming gs employees claiming that all the accusations were false. Then i came across dafonda’s post, and i just wanted to tell you, yes, i did spend fifteen minutes reading your comment, but after that, i didn’t need to read anymore..

    So, Thanks for breaking it down like that and pointing out, besides the obvious spelling problems these “techies” have, the less obvious flawed and very much abusive, way of doing buisness.

  76. HimeLiquorinc says:

    Im a Former Geeksquad Covert Operator( what that means is that I basicaly answered calls for Geeksquad and Fixed Customers computers over the phone). I think Geeksquad prices are really out there and pricy. and for the amount of work and hours performed in home, in store, or over the phone sometimes it really isnt fair. the company Geeksquad all started in minnesota. and it was a great company. Best buy loved the idea and bought them. Circuit city then came out with FireFrog as competition and it started a whole new employment oportunities. because after all our economy went down when Bush was elected. So as a growth of a new revolution in the Talent of the computer industry. I think best buy really put alot of money into there project and its growing. Now Geeksquad is not for everyone. Look If i knew how to Fix my own roof or fix my own car i would not be going to a roofer or a automechanic.I would do it my self. Who has the time today with a family or a life to live to do that. So Time verses Money We bring Our damaged Items to someone that can Fix Them. And we live our normal life. You have to think about. I helped people for a living. and i did it for 2 years over the phone. I can tell you i heard some people do some really stupid things to there computers(Like but a boot from sports authority inside there computer because it needs a boot drive)kid you not I took that call.and it is a great story to tell today. But to expect someone else to fix it and when it comes out that we cant because they fried it. the consumer gets upset because they paid for it to be fixed.let me tell you thers a fine line between a Dee Dee dee and a intelegent person. owning a computer is common sence. its alergic to water and it is primarly used for entertainment, business, comunication.When you buy it off the shelves its a good computer. Now that you own it. what do you do with it. Go online? Look up porn? get viruses? what you do with your computer is your own business. Just like what i do with my computer or my car is my own business. just when it breaks down because of misuse,or poor maintenance.and you dont have the time to fix it or dont have the knowledge to. then we pay the Price. how many times have you guys spent thousands on your car and its still a Piece of crap and doesnt run the way it used to. I know i have. and i ended up getting a brand new one and repeating the cycle all over again. Now in the main statement. Yes i believe other steps should have taken place before a hard drive replacement.Yes it should have been taken better care and looked at. and as you can see best buy did compensate for it. it was 50 bucks so you can have a nice day and treat your girlfriend or wife out to dinner and live your normal life. If you want to fix your own computer the knowledge cost between 744 bucks to 3500 for the A+ and networking certifications. to some people just tinkering around and being self taught.other wise we pay the price and send the computer in for repairs. Like i said Companies like Geeksquad and Firefrog there here to help the individuals that are computer illeritiate not the computer smart. and companies like best buy and firefrog Put over 4million people to work across the united states and have spent over billions to advertise the market,hire employees, and buy supplies like beattls or vans to service america. While Bush Spent 86 Billion or more to fight a war on terror. and sent over 250,000 or more troops overseas to die or stand up for what we believe in. as a consumer as gas prices keep going higher expect your computer repairs, or roofing or cost of living to go up. and expect things to get more expensive. This is the land of oportunities and its not free. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Thank you.

  77. time says:

    I’ve worked over 15 years fixing pc problems, and I have only ever seen one bad hard drive. Even in computers that so called qualified repair techs told me had been struck by lightning. Don’t believe them .

  78. ejb1138 says:

    BEWARE CONSUMERS – BEST BUY EMPLOYEE SPEAKS OUT

    OVERVIEW: WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW…

    I have worked at Best Buy in the computer sales department for close to four months now. I applied as a Geek Squad “technician” and was told that the company did not hire techs off the street, but that I’d have to work the sales floor first to get there. Trainees in all departments at Best Buy are required to wear white polo shirts (which they must pay for) for the first several weeks until they prove themselves to be “specialists” on the products and policies in the store. There is actually very little training involved… just a few computer learnings and then you are thrown out on the sales floor until you can handle it then you get your blue polo shirts (which you also pay for out of your first paycheck). I was offered 4 dollars an hour less than the wage I expected and was told that full time positions were unavailable. Since I was in great need of a job, I took them on their word that there would be plenty of opportunities to gain full time status and get promotions and raises, despite the fact that we don’t make ANY commission nor are we offered ANY incentive to push sales except to “possibly” get a small ($200) bonus once per year if we exceed some budget goals (which other employees say has not happened in the last five years). Funny how just two weeks later I saw two brand-new white polos in the Geek Squad department and that newer employees are getting full-time status. I have yet to get a glimpse of full time and I have not heard of any opportunities to advance. This company is simply full of lies. They lie to their employees and they lie to their customers to compensate for their poor management and insufficient resources. Unless you are good at being a sleazy kiss-ass bullsh*tter or a “yes-man” who is a complete moron and doesn’t mind making minimum wage and no commission indefinitely, don’t bother applying at Best Buy because they will find a reason to fire you if you don’t fit their desired profile. I have not been fired yet, but I have been put on “final warning” for calling in sick one day. After 90 days working there, I got a review (which I “passed” and received a 24-cent an hour raise. I will not be up for another raise for another year. I have worked in many professions (all of which I made more money doing and enjoyed more – even 15 years ago) and I’m a student in Information Technology now – obviously I was not meant for retail sales… but I swear, from the day I quit until the day I die, I will NEVER purchase anything from this company again and I will persuade EVERYONE I know across the U.S. and the globe to STAY OUT of that piece of sh*t. This company is the biggest joke I’ve ever worked for (and I’ve worked in many industries). I want the consumers to know how angry I am (and they should be) at this company for “training” me to lie to customers and apologize all day long because we NEVER have any more than about six or seven of the huge SALE ITEMS they advertise every week (which our poor customers sit all night and morning long for in our parking lot lined-up like fools in the freezing cold). It is a shady business to say the least and I want no part of it any longer. In my experience with Geek Squad, they don’t want to fix your computer – they want to charge you out the rear for things you don’t need and they want to purposefully “diagnose” your computer with as many problems as they can to make the biggest sale possible. This is achieved by first analyzing the customer… if they are old or computer-illiterate, then they are screwed. If they know a little bit, then they will still get screwed because they can’t back out of the charges. If they know everything, then they can probably catch the geeks off guard – but then why would they go to Geek Squad in the first place? Best buy sucks – period. Oh, and by the way, did you notice that Best Buy has PURCHASED BestBuySux.org? I wonder what THAT deal cost them. Better check your wallet next time you walk in their doors… they may have something else up their sleeve. As for most floor employees, I can’t tell you to be pissed at them because they know very little about the company and the changes that are constantly enforced. They are pushed into a corner and are on a “need-to-know” basis on EVERYTHING. It is like a small communistic government existing behind a fat capitalist’s flag. It makes me sick.

    DETERMINATION: Best Buy Blows!

    REASONS: THEY USE THE SAME TACTICS TO HIRE AS THEY DO TO GET YOU TO BUY – THEY JUST LIE.

    WHY WORK FOR BEST BUY?:

    PROS: A small (insignificant) discount on products they don’t pay you enough to afford anyway.

    CONS: No full time. No benefits. No commission. Low wages. Rare wage increases. Rare opportunities to advance. Expected to complete hours of courses and certifications for no increase or acknowledgment. Expected to cheerfully attend and applaud at daily meetings covering store budgets and expectations (mainly to point out shortcomings). Rarely have advertised products in stock, causing us to spend most of our shifts explaining and apologizing. No structure of any kind to benefit either the consumer or the employee. ALWAYS understaffed.

    SO, WANNA WORK AT BEST BUY?

    Thanks for listening.

    Sincerely,

    One extremely pissed off IT student/Best Buy employee who isn’t happy with businesses treating consumers and employees like idiots and ripping them off…

  79. Anonymous says:

    My computer just quit working overnight, so my husband took it to the Geeks at Best Buy. They called and said the hard drive was fried and the graphics card was bad and needed replaced also!!!He told them to go ahead, they had the damn thing three weeks! It comes back,we go pick it up and it don’t work. They said I had to call HP and order a recovery disc. I do that 2 day Fedex. Get home from work try to run the disc,And it is not recognizing the hard drive!!!!I call them up and they say bring it back with my disc.Well it thirty miles one way to Best Buy!!Now I’m mad!!They have charged me 484.11 plus 23.00 for a recovery disc!!We are an older couple and don’t make very much per hour,and are not computer smart.Yet I now find out that I’m not the only one they have done this to!!I would not recommend the GEEK SQUAD to anyone!!! Sherry B

  80. Outlander says:

    HOLY SMACK! I was a PC tech way back in the 90′s (before A+ certs, can you remember DOS?) an worked at a little custom PC shop in Silicon Valley. We did a lot of building and repair, let me tell you it was a lot harder then.Now Im in a dif field but I still repair/upgrade friends and friends of friends PC’s for about $30 and parts. All I needed then was a degree in micro electronics. I was just curious about what the going rate was today and I am shocked what GS charges. They were just at the house next door a few days ago an my neighbor told me they charged him almost $300 to fix his PC. He got tricked by a new “antivirus” download. They must prey on peoples lack of knowledge. An that A+ cert is a joke! Just google it to see what kind of questions are on that test. AT&T also did something like this to someone I work with. Set him up with broadband THEN told him that his PC was not compatable, older PC running Windows 2000, no broadband card. Within 20 mins I had the card in an he was up and going. Im in a job now where I have to register with the state board and be tested every 2 years. These guys are not regulated at all an get away with ripping pople off. I sometimes play with the idea to open a PC shop but I see them come an go all the time, the big guys just crush them. $80 to open your PC an install a ram card??? And that doesnt even include the cost of the card!

  81. LeslieW says:

    I am the computer repair tech. at Anns Title Pawn in Murrayville, Ga., and I hear horror stories constantly from my customers! This is simply one instance they were busted. I was shocked to see a diag. fee of $69.00, I thought I was high at $35.00 until recently I did not charge but I got tired of working for free everyday, doing only diagnostics
    I was curious to see for myself and I found it shocking they want to charge by the half hour to simply talk to a Tech.!
    Most of the time these are simple problems that only take a little time to repair and I rarely charge for something simple
    For the price of their diag. and install you can probaly buy the software yourself and do it!
    Though removing the hard drive from a laptop is a tech. job and unless you want to risk damaging your laptop I would not advise it, most of the time this is really simple, remove the 2 screws on the back of the laptop to access the h.d.d. and put it on another computer as a slave and the working harddrive will read it and you can retrieve your data, their are many FREE tools from Harddrive manufacturers that you can use to test and repair your harddrive if they are not physically damaged, also the restore disks can be bought from the laptop manuf. for a general price of $35.00 but you should be able to download all your drivers from the manuf. for free! leaving you only the cost of the OS
    I am glad to have the GeekSquad down the road from me, it helps my business!!